A report from Germany's own Auto Motor und Sport details the staggering investment that Mercedes made in order to get to the winner's circle last season. After 15 seasons with McLaren netting one constructors' and three drivers' titles, Mercedes motorsport chief Norbert Haug convinced the Daimler board late in 2009 to take over the Brawn GP team that had just won the championship.
Because the team would be getting a large payout from Bernie Ecclestone as the returning champions the following year, and with sponsors lined up, Daimler only had to pony up a small portion of a smaller budget: in 2010 (its first season under the Mercedes banner), the team ran on a budget of "only" €153 million ($175m). Over the course of the following seasons, though, the team's share of the TV revenues from Formula One Management went down as Mercedes struggled to climb back up the standings, but successive advocates (including Haug, Ross Brawn and Niki Lauda) successfully convinced the bean-counters in Stuttgart to ratchet up the payments.
By 2012, the budget was expanded to €200 million, and further climbed to €250 million in 2013 and 2014. Fortunately for Daimler, the investment was starting to pay off by then as the team finished second in the constructors' standings in 2013, bringing €74 million in from Ecclestone's coffers to cover roughly a third of the budget. With Malaysian oil giant Petronas alone kicking in upwards of another €30 million per season as title sponsor (as of 2009 when it signed on), and untold millions more coming in from other partners, it looks like the actual cost to Daimler for securing both world titles and a winning reputation was actually more like hundred million or so.