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For the past several years – even more in the case of McLaren – Germany's automakers have been known around the Formula One paddock by their association with two of the sport's most established racing teams. But for the 2010 season, both Mercedes-Benz and BMW have dissolved their partnerships with McLaren and Sauber, respectively. And yet, if you look down this year's roster, you'd swear the associations still stand.

In the case of McLaren, the partnership with Mercedes has now devolved into a strict engine-supply arrangement, just the same as exists between Red Bull and Renault or Force India and Ferrari, to mention just two examples. This following Mercedes' acquisition of the Brawn GP team. McLaren, however, is now completing the re-acquisition of the 40% stake which Mercedes parent-company Daimler held in the racing outfit, thus culminating a 15-year partnership between the two companies.

Sauber's arrangement is a bit more complicated, however. The Swiss team, which was founded as an independent, was bought outright by BMW after its lackluster arrangement with the Williams team failed to amount to much. The Bavarian automaker withdrew its support at the end of last season, however, leaving Sauber twisting in the wind. The team's namesake founder has since bought the team back from BMW, and is running under Ferrari power like it once did.

The most bizarre arrangement, however, left the team's official entry labeled as BMW Sauber Ferrari, since the team was hesitant to remove BMW's name from its letterhead and risk missing out on the revenue stream to which the team is entitled from Formula One Management's commercial holdings. Sauber, however, says that the situation will change some time this season when they officially and formally drop the BMW name from its entry and off the nose of the car on which it still sits.

[Sources: ESPN and F1Technical | Image: Guillaume Baptiste/AFP/Getty]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      funny how I read today that McLaren just bought 11% of Mercedes Benz shares today.
        • 5 Years Ago
        yes, you are correct. I must have read it incorrectly. the headlines titles made it seem otherwise.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Interesting news
      • 5 Years Ago
      Force India uses Mercedes and did last year as well.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm not a fan of sharing engines. F1 in it's current ludicrous form, is all too metronomic. Sharing engines makes this even worse. Engines are a key component in racing cars and each team should have to develop and build their own in-house design within strict guidelines and on a limited budget - just like their aero packages. The FIA have placed a cap on overall team budgets, increase this to take into account engine development and then let each team decide what percentage of the budget they will spend on what.

      I know it's an added expense - but that's what F1 should be about - competition, innovation, pushing the boundaries of technology and driver whilst still remaining honest to the spirit of motor racing - which should be with the onus of skill being more on the driver than the machine. Not generic engines and cars with silly automatic gearboxes with enough software to launch the space shuttle.

      The only way to make F1 interesting again would be to bring back manual gearboxes and a clutch pedal (shock horror!); this will lead to drivers making a lot more mistakes and vastly increase overtaking and spectator enjoyment and quickly go some way to levelling the field of difference between driver skill and car ability.
        • 5 Years Ago
        really? low tech? And there are plenty of people that would say there are no higher tech engines in the world, but if you say so... Oh, and what variable geometry are you talking about? What engine has variable geometry?Variable valve timing helps with torque, these cars are super light and trade torque for immense power.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The engine is one of the few areas where I support sharing-- developing an engine is insanely expensive. I don't want to see every team running the exact same engine, no-- but the current situation where we have Cosworth (4 teams), Mercedes (3 teams), Ferrari (3 teams) and Renault (2 teams) seems reasonable.

        What seems unreasonable to me is that these engine designs are frozen, and that innovation on engine development is completely forbidden by the "formula". Sure, they rev to 18,000 RPM, but otherwise, the engines are fairly low tech-- no variable timing or geometry, no efforts to reduce fuel consumption.

        It's ridiculous, and as long as the FIA insists on a "one-size fits all" approach to cost reduction that treats teams like Ferrari, McLaren, Force India and Virgin the same... F1 is going to continue to lose ground in terms of innovation. It's going to wind up as IRL's rich cousin.
      • 5 Years Ago
      5 'However's in 4 paragraphs? It must be a record!
        • 5 Years Ago
        However you want to look at it, there are a few in there..