Mercedes Grand Prix take over Brawn for 2010

Mercedes' illustration of its likely 2010 F1 car livery

Mercedes’ illustration of its likely 2010 F1 car livery

Mercedes has announced it is taking over Brawn GP and rebranding it Mercedes Grand Prix for 2010.

But it remains to be seen whether they will keep world champion Jenson Button in the team.

They are expected to bring in Nico Rosberg and may partner him with a second German driver – possibly Nick Heidfeld.

Button is tipped to move to McLaren – who he visited on Friday – to join Lewis Hamilton in an all-British line-up.

Mercedes will take a 75% share in Brawn. In May I wrote how appealing the idea of a Brawn deal was for Mercedes. Two months ago reports emerged that a deal was on the cards for 2011. That now seems to have been brought forward.

The deal, which sees Mercedes shifting their stake from McLaren to Brawn, should guarantee the future of the team which was sold by Honda almost 12 months ago.

McLaren and Mercedes worked closely together on and off the track after Mercedes became an engine supplier to the F1 team in 1995. The two developed the Mercedes SLR McLaren which was built at the McLaren Technology Centre.

But now Mercedes has used in-house tuners AMG to build its replacement – the SLS – and McLaren has developed a supercar of its own – the MP4-12C.

Expect the 2010 Mercedes F1 car to take on the silver colouring that’s been associated with McLaren since 1997 (see illustration above). It will be the first time Mercedes has run its own F1 team since 1955 when it had a British driver in its line-up – Stirling Moss.

McLaren could return to their historic orange colour scheme. Mercedes’ press release, reproduced in full below, says:

The change to the form of co-operation is taking place by mutual agreement. Mercedes-Benz and McLaren will continue to co-operate with each other and the supply of engines could continue until 2015.

Is this the sad loss of a giant-killing independent team, or a welcome vote of confidence from a major manufacturer? And how would Hamilton and Button fare as team mates? Have your say in the comments.

Mercedes take over Brawn

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318 comments on Mercedes Grand Prix take over Brawn for 2010

  1. Mussolini's Pet Cat said on 16th November 2009, 12:51

    Awful news.

  2. hartry said on 16th November 2009, 12:54

    I presume mercedes gp will still be based at the Brackley factory, which is only 5 miles from me?

  3. It’s a bit of a shame that Brawn won’t defend their title although it’s kinda cool to have a “works” Mercedes team.

  4. Now, statistically wise, is Mercedes a new team and Brawn has become a “former team”? This would mean that Mercedes stats and numbers would be reseted to zero and Brawn would be frozen in history. Or will they keep their numbers from the 1950’?

    Or is it just a rebranding and the Mercedes GP will keep the stats and numbers of Brawn GP? If so, will Mercedes run the number 3 and 4 cars if they don’t sign Button?

    I know it is statistic ********, but I like this stuff :P

  5. Icthyes said on 16th November 2009, 12:58

    I welcome this news and find it quite exciting. A works Mercedes team, adding a manufacturer back into the mix after Toyota pulled out, a manufacturer-friendly but ever-more independent McLaren becoming the British Ferrari, and best of all, the Maccas will stay silver!

    The silver Brawn looks pretty awesome too.

  6. Thandi said on 16th November 2009, 13:03

    Mercedes GP, wow! can’t wait to see how they gonna do next year
    I hope they put Kimi in the car, if not Nico

    exciting stuff

    • sato113 said on 17th November 2009, 2:56

      i wish they’d just call it Mercedes. not ‘Mercedes F1 Team’ or ‘Mercedes GP’. we dont hear ‘Ferrari GP’!

  7. Ulfuls said on 16th November 2009, 13:06

    Although I congenitally loathe McLaren, it would be interesting to see Lewis and Jenson as teammates. The general consensus seems to be that Lewis would be eating Jenson’s lunch on every occasion, but I’m not so sure — I can see it being more of a Prost-Senna arrangement, with Lewis winning with raw pace, and Jenson taking wins with race-craft and points consistency.

    When was the last all-British team (two drivers and team) by the way? Racking my brain but can’t come up with it.

    But as many have said, I can’t think that anyone would want to step into Lewis’s team and hope to race on equal terms. For all Martin Whitmarsh’s twaddle about their drivers always being treated absolutely equally, it seems inconceivable that they haven’t promised the golden boy that they have been cultivating for the past decade that when it comes down to it, he will always have first access to development parts etc. Can’t imagine Jenson would feel comfortable in that situation. Then again, if Mercedes is preferencing Rosberg and shutting him out for not being German enough, he’s unlikely to feel very comfortable there either. Tough situation.

    Jenson and Rubens, Williams 2011! There’s the solution!

    • For one race in 2005 BAR had Button and Davidson as their drivers.

      As far as a whole season goes, I guess it would be Irvine and Herbert at Jaguar in 2000.

    • Nitpicker said on 16th November 2009, 22:41

      When was the last all-British team (two drivers and team) by the way?

      Didn’t Damon Hill and Nigel Mansell race together at Williams for a few races at the end of the 1994 season? Coulthard stepped in after Senna was killed but was pushed aside after Mansell had won his Indycar championship and fancied some proper racing.

  8. Keith, on a statistics’ note: does this news mean that the new ‘Mercedes Grand Prix’ team will have run as many as 12 Grands Prix, resulting in 8 pole positions, 9 fastest laps, 9 race wins, 139.14 WDC points, and as many as 0 (zero) WCC points?

  9. GeeMac said on 16th November 2009, 13:11

    I’m a bit saddened by this news. Ross Brawn and Nick Fry rescued their team from the ashes of Honda, turned them into World Champions, and then sold out to a big manufacturer. I’m so sad that Brawn are gone, they had a real “stick it to the big guys” attitude. Now they are going to be the big guys!

    Also, if Jenson doesn’t sign for Mercedes GP and goes to McLaren, they won’t be able to run number 1 and 2. It’s quite a superficial thing, but it would have been nice to see the team that dominated the 2009 championship run with 1 and 2 in 2010. Also, Lewis, who would be the de facto number 1 in the team (regardless of what Martin Whitmarsh and the contracts say) would run in car number 2.

    Also, if McLaren have Jenson and Lewis as their line-up for 2010, and Mercedes GP have Nico Rosberg and Nick Heidfeld, it won’t be long before the press turn the whole thing into an Anglo-German war!

    • mp4-19b said on 16th November 2009, 14:05

      Also, if McLaren have Jenson and Lewis as their line-up for 2010, and Mercedes GP have Nico Rosberg and Nick Heidfeld, it won’t be long before the press turn the whole thing into an Anglo-German war!

      Yeah! you are correct. We have daily mirror, guardian & the rest of the rubbish. They have BILD and the others :P

      • It’s a bit odd. Mercedes want the German drivers to represent them but are really an internation company recognised around the world for road cars.
        Mclaren privateer and very British so a British line up makes sense in that way. However, Mclaren also need to expand and get money from other outlets and sponsors and a British line up will just isolate them I feel. Not only that but a Kimi Lewis pairing would be much stronger in my view.

    • Steely Man said on 16th November 2009, 14:23

      Will some of you people calm down! Brawn arn’t going anywhere just because Merc have bought a majority stake; the rosy independent constructor idea may have gone but the team have not. Have people forgotten that this year Brawn were still Honda, albeit sans a few hundred personnel.

      • Financially speaking, Brawn may have survived for maybe next year or 2011 if it stayed as a privateer, but over the long run, they need the resources only a manufacturer can bring.

        Remember that even when it looked like they were running away with the championships earlier this year, they still had difficulty getting sponsors on board. Even some of the sponsors (e.g. Canon) were one-race deals, and Branson has changed his allegiance to Manor since…

    • Nitpicker said on 16th November 2009, 22:46

      it would have been nice to see the team that dominated the 2009 championship run with 1 and 2 in 2010

      They did great to win both world championships this year, but I would hardly say they ‘dominated’ by winning the drivers’ by 11 points and the constructors’ by 18.5 points.

      McLaren in 1988: that was domination. So to speak.

  10. So after one season and winning both Championships the team name Brawn will disappear after only year in F1.

    I would have preferred it if to start with at least the deal with Brawn was the same as the one with McLaren so we would have McLaren Mercedes and Brawn Mercedes, but I suppose from a business point of view it wouldn’t make much sense for Mercedes to own minority stakes in two teams.

    If Mercedes relationship with Brawn is more to how it was with McLaren, supplying money and resources but letting Brawn run the show I see no reason why they can’t continue to be competitive, but if Mercedes try to interfere too much it could be a mistake.

    I am glad McLaren are due to keep their Silver/Red livery as it is one of my favourites, if they had decided to ditch it then the colour would probably be largely dependent on sponsors so having an orange car with Vodafone as your title sponsor would never happen.

  11. If I am Mclaren, I would grab Rosberg. Not wise to have 2 British driver in a single team in terms of PR. You would like to have 2 different drivers to promote 2 different region and demographic. Button and Hamilton are too similar, and the same case for Rosberg and Heidfeld.

    It make more sense to mix the 2 together. I seriously have double in Heifield. Kovalainen would be a nicer choice than Heidfeld.

    What about Kimi and Button for Merc GP? and Hamilton and Rosberg for Mclaren? Maybe it sounds too ideal….

    Anyhow, I just want to know asap!!!

  12. If I am Mclaren, I would grab Rosberg. Not wise to have 2 British driver in a single team in terms of PR. You would like to have 2 different drivers to promote 2 different regions and demographics. Button and Hamilton are too similar, and the same case for Rosberg and Heidfeld.

    It make more sense to mix the 2 together. I seriously have double in Heifield. Kovalainen would be a nicer choice than Heidfeld.

    What about Kimi and Button for Merc GP? and Hamilton and Rosberg for Mclaren? Maybe it sounds too ideal….

    Anyhow, I just want to know asap!!!

  13. DGR-F1 said on 16th November 2009, 13:25

    It looks to me as if Ross Brawn and Nick Fry are going to have to look elsewhere if they want to run their own team again. If the new outfit is going to be branded as ‘Mercedes’ then Norbert and his cronies are going to be in control and looking for those to blame when it all goes wrong.
    You would have thought that Mercedes had learnt the lessons of BMW, Toyota and Renault this year, and purely stuck to being engine suppliers, but maybe its ego-expanding time in Germany, just in time for the Christmas bonuses and they have decided to give Ferrari a reason to stay racing.
    As for Button possibly moving to an independent Mclaren, I say go for it, as we will be able to compare our recent Champions in the same car, and their WAGS can have a good chat during the race too….

    • Prisoner Monkeys said on 16th November 2009, 13:31

      Actually, Brawn will remain as team principal.

      • DGR-F1 said on 16th November 2009, 15:50

        For the time being………

        • Maksutov said on 16th November 2009, 16:46

          I would say for a long time until Brawn himself gets bored and decides to leave.

          Brawn is by far the smartest team principal and strategist in the f1 community.

          • DGR-F1 said on 17th November 2009, 17:24

            So why has he given up the chance to be in complete control of his new team? It worked this year, so why not next year?
            I can understand that to compete in F1 you need the cash, but why allow another company to own so much of what you have built up, and gained a reputation with? It won’t be the same with the Mercedes beanpickers and shareholders wanting their monies worth every single race. Look at how they affected McLaren’s performance, look at how Renault, BMW and Toyota have behaved towards their teams, look at the pressure Ferrari are always under.
            This is a crazy move by Ross and Co. Its all downhill from here…..:(

  14. This is not unexpected but all the same very significant. I see McLaren will continue with the Mercedes powerplant until 2015 but personally I hope there are many an opt out clauses for McLaren. I’m glad McLaren, like Williams with BMW, never gave in too Mercedes’s past ‘takeover’ advances.

    Additionally, I hope Mercedes will stay the course unlike BMW, Toyota, and quite possibly Renault being that the weak and fickle management and executives of these companies are purely making business and strategic decisions, and have about as much racing blood in their bones as a wooden rocking horse.

    I wonder who owns the balance of the shares i.e. Ross himself being that he is team Brawn? Now I guess that in effect makes Ross Brawn an employee of Mercedes which seems a shame and quite a turn around, but that’s life as they say. What a lovely little pocket earner for Ross too though…

    • Ross has to have made a lot of money out of this. Buying a team for a £1 (i know there was all the debts) and sold his shares as WDC and WCC. I dont think for one second that was his motivation. The man is a god when it comes to F1 in my view.

    • Seems to me Jenson is playing a dangerous game by not having signed to a team by now. I personally don’t think McLaren is the team for him as Lewis is younger with more years ahead of him and he is arguably a better driver. Additionally I don’t think it helps sponsors who may want to expand to other markets. I think Jenson should stick with the team formally known as Brawn as they are likely to be financially one of the big power houses on the grid with the likelihood of a good car.

      Another though is I hope Lewis has an opt out clauses should the Mercedes engines not prove worth keeping.

      Also, how long do we think it will be before Vettel joins MercedesF1. Lets have a vote…

  15. As for the driver line-ups, while neither team has an official No.1 driver policy, just because of both drivers history with the teams I would have said that McLaren was Hamilton’s team and what was Brawn was Button’s team. So it would be easier for the established driver at the team even if it was because they knew everyone at the team, how it worked and the characteristics of the car.

    If he has the chance Button should stay at Mercedes as I just can’t see him consistently beating Hamilton if both were at McLaren, as for one thing the car will have been developed around Hamilton’s style of driving which won’t suit Button.

    Personally I would like Button and Rosberg at Mercedes and Hamilton and Raikkonen at McLaren as long as it is the old fully motivated Raikkonen. But I wouldn’t mind Heidfeld in the other McLaren car if a deal couldn’t be reached with Raikkonen, as I think Heidfeld is underrated and would fit the bill as a reliable No.2 driver, Heidfeld would be the Coulthard to Hamilton’s Hakkinen/Raikkonen at McLaren.

  16. Mercedes’ illustration of its likely 2010 F1 car livery

    Really?

  17. F1 Outsider said on 16th November 2009, 13:36

    Anybody else stop and think about how much money Ross Brawn and Nick Fry are probably pocketing from this deal? They bought the team for pennies, literally… And now they sold it to none other than Mercedes-Benz. Wow!!!

  18. Arun.India said on 16th November 2009, 13:41

    Mostly kimi will sit at home with the 18 million ferrari paid him……button will puppet hamilton in mclaren and rosberg and heidfeld will be in mer f1 team…..

  19. Stephen Simpson said on 16th November 2009, 13:41

    Heidfeld is being used as a bargaining chip in negotiations: Raikkonen and Button are still in the best positions to get the McLaren and Mercedes drives, unless their negotiators get it wrong.

    Rosberg will not be #1 driver – whoever is his team mate will get equal treatment.

    • Heidfeld is being used as a bargaining chip in negotiations

      A bargaining chip and a handy back up if either Button or Raikkonen fail to agree terms…

  20. mp4-19b said on 16th November 2009, 13:44

    Muahahaha! Complete joke! Merc are shooting themselves in the legs. They will for sure, end up like BMW or Toyota. Manufactures imho must stick to supplying engines & leave the real racing to the real guys.

    Poor McLaren :( :( were supplied with engines suffering from asthma, but now after all these years of sputtering & coughing, merc finally deserts them, just cuz they have somehow managed to manufacture reliable engines?? Until 2006 merc engine was the most unreliable engine in F1. Kept blowing up every few feet. It is cuz of mercedes that mclaren potentially lost the titles in 2000,2003,2004,2005!!

    I have proof to substantiate my (some would call it) “OUTRAGEOUS” claim

    The McLaren Mercedes partner ship began in 1995, since then this is what has happened:

    1995: Agreed that mp4-10 was “The” most horrible looking,handling car ever built. It was supposedly designed by a supercomp! That needle nose was horrible & Mansell couldn’t fit his ass into its cockpit! But you can excuse mclaren, cuz this was post Senna. People were trying out differnt noses, front wing, safety elements etc. But Merc kept blowing up.

    1996: Saw some instability, Marlboro was leaving, DC came in, chassis was decent but no match for Adrian Newey’s FW18. But merc still kept blowing up.

    1997; Stunning livery. Initial chassis was designed by Neil Oatley, later in the season it was improvised by Newey himself. Won 3 races, but lost at least & due to merc blowing up! Most notably at nurburgring with Mika in the lead.

    1998: Superb chassis, Won bot WDC & WCC. But had a fair number of blow ups. So did ferrari, so it was nullified.

    1999: Remember Melbourne ? Both Mika & DC retired whilst leading a 1-2, that too on consecutive laps
    merc let them down on numerous occasions that season.

    2000: How can you ever forget US Gp!!! It was a death blow to mclaren. Mika was leading both the championship & the race when the merc blew up!! McLaren never ever recovered from that. Another Case of merc letting down mclaren again.

    2001: Remember spanish gp? make retired on the last corner with a blown engine, painful. merc let down mclaren in crucial situations that year.

    2002: Kimi blew up on numerous occasions, most notably in spa. But that Merc was underpowered compared to BMW & Ferrari.

    2003: Can we ever forget that merc blowing up during the race at nurburgring?? It was such a crucial race for Kimi, but merc blew up again. kimi never had a chance since then on, even though he finished only 2 points behind scummy in the WDC.

    2004: I won’t even talk about it :( just see for yourselves.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRrjq8F9EVY

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogC1w_RAnxU ( after his engine had failed)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiKXCjMwamM

    Also blew up at nurburgring, spain,monza

    abysmal season. totally blame merc

    2005: That year was destined to be McLaren’s & Kimi’s year.They had the most explosive combination in the form of Kimi & JPM. But merc had other plans :P Most of the time, Kimi started with a 10 place grid penalty & was always compromised. That MP4-20 was a monster. But Merc….

    2006: One word- UNDERPOWERED

    2007,2008&2009: Merc find a cure to their engine related problems & decide to dump mclaren! Traitors!

    In 15 years of their partner ship you can fault McLaren at most 2 times(95 &96) but even then, merc was probably underpowered & unreliable.

    I think mercedes leaving McLaren would be the best to to happen to them in the long term.

    Only three teams exist to race in Formula One:

    McLaren
    Ferrari
    Williams

    the rest are noobies :P

    • Mahir C said on 16th November 2009, 14:16

      Apart from the fact Mclaren designed trucks in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2009.

      While talking about blow-ups, lets also talk about Mclaren pit crew screwing big time. Most notably in 2007.

      • mp4-19b said on 16th November 2009, 14:21

        Apart from the fact Mclaren designed trucks in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006

        Sorry, have to disagree Mahir. Adrian Newey was the technical director of McLaren during all those years that you’ve just mentioned. And we know how often he produces “Trucks”

        Norbert Haug, himself has admitted to the fact that it was merc who’ve let down mclaren on numerous occasions.

        • Mahir C said on 16th November 2009, 14:37

          I’m disputing that Merc failed too much. But come on, on those years Mclaren clearly wasnt up with Ferrari. Ok, they werent completely trucks but you,re compared to your rivals in F1.

          you’re right about 2005 though, that year alone is enough for Mclaren to be fed up with Merc.

          Lets see what Mclaren do with their own engine 2011 onwards.

    • Chalky said on 16th November 2009, 14:23

      Didn’t Ron Dennis once say he’d rather have a quick but unreliable car than the other way round (i.e: reliable slow car)?

      Maybe this mentality pushed the engines into that risk zone that caused the failures. Maybe the engines were being pushed harder to compensate for chassis design?

      • Jacques Villeneuve said something similar in 1999 when asked about his BAR-Supertec’s unreliability and replied that it was easier to make a fast car reliable than to make a reliable car fast. There’s an element of truth in that, not that BAR scored so much as a single point in 1999…

        Not sure if Ron also said it separately.

    • Indeed, you justified it really well :) I would love to see McLaren in Orange costume next year… looks unlikely, though!

    • Right first off, and I probably shouldn’t say it as I’m not usually smug (mainly as I am usually wrong!) but when there was first speculation I did think ‘oh well Merc just want to expand into f1′ and thought nothing else of it. Then I found a little report about rumours about Mclaren wanting to buy from BMW and build their own engines. In fact I think I pasted the report in on this site on one of articles a few months back as I remember Mp4 commenting on it:S anyway from, then on I thought it won’t be sudden but Mclaren will eventually break away from Mercedes and I was shot down by my friends saying it will never happen. :)
      For me, this will be great having a big name back. However, I also think Mclaren eventually having full independence is great and I know they can do well with it. It’ll be nice seeing a true Mclaren vs Ferrari fight.

    • sumedh said on 16th November 2009, 14:44

      Somehow, at the end of the post, I found myself concluding that it is Adrian Newey’s cars that are most unreliable.

      And looking at this year, that wouldn’t be a wrong conclusion.

      He probably doesn’t do much for cooling the engine.

      Anyways, that debate can be done in a different post :). But surely, unreliability follows Adrian Newey.

      • Ulfuls said on 16th November 2009, 15:00

        Good point — Adrian Newey’s designs seem to be fast but fragile (for whatever reason). Remember as well the bits arbitrarily flying off the Red Bulls in Singapore and Japan. Whereas the Brawn (whoever designed it) was built like a (very fast) tank — Rubens losing his double diffuser in Melbourne and his front endplate in Abu Dhabi without any loss of pace, and sticking the back of the chassis back together with gaffer tape after shoehorning the Mercedes engine in.

        Clearly the design team at Brawn seem to be able to build a car that will take punishment and hold its pace, whereas Adrian Newey’s cars, while more advanced technically (nose strakes, rear suspension, etc) seem to fall apart a bit more.

    • IMHO, Brawn’s success is mostly due to their extra time and effort. Button’s first 6 wins came from a car that was over-developed while the rest of the grid were still trying to get in terms with the new regulation. When the rest of the grid came up, especially RBR and Mclaren they hardly matched them. They might have moved their efforts to 2010 already, but surely that didn’t justify their lack of performance in second half. Nevertheless, they did trade off their 2008 season for this result and they did deserve this championships (but at the cost of Honda)!

      Mercedes’ way of partnering a good team on the grid and stay at the helm to have their say was not successful with Mclaren. They found a good way to do that, by branding the BGP with their name. They’ll succeed in having a team under their control, but it is highly unlikely that they’ll stay on the top of the table.

      They may gain Ross’ technical advantage, but they’ll miss the entire Mclaren talent which can turn a dog of a car into a race winner in no time (and not to mention, without testing)! It’ll be hard time for Mercedes, I would love to see Mclaren with their old Orange livery… but from the news here, it looks unlikely! I think, 2010 would be a fight between Mclaren, RBR and Ferrari! No offense, I wouldn’t mind adding Brawn (Mercedes GP) there, but I doubt their development strategy under pressure!!!

    • Maksutov said on 16th November 2009, 16:52

      I think mercedes leaving McLaren would be the best to to happen to them in the long term.

      But it wont entirely happen for the next 6 years!

    • Maciek said on 17th November 2009, 0:37

      Groan, mp4. So your logic is that Mercedes taking the opportunity of having its own team AND committing to supplying McLaren at least through 2015 makes them evil? Sheesh.

    • fantastic reply, they cost a lot of wins and championships! this year has been there stand out year and its gone straight to there heads.

      Whats to say ferrari wont have the best engine next year, its more than likely, then wonder what evryone will think to merc…again. I cant forgive them for 2005! for that reason aloner they should have kimi to apologise

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