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. 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!!!

  2. 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!!!

  3. 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…..:(

  4. 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…

  5. 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.

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


  7. 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!!!

  8. 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…..

  9. 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…

  10. 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. ( after his engine had failed)

    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:


    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

  11. on liveries –

    McLaren obviously like the way their cars look at the moment (and who doesn’t – best one in my view).

    But Merc want to be the Silver Arrows again.

    So, expect this –

    McLaren to become a metallic, gunmetal grey; plenty of contrast for red flashes, courtesy of their sponsor.

    Mercedes to go real silver, a la 1955; proper brushed metal (even though the car is carbon fibre).

    The difference will be very obvious, and both cars will be stunning to look at. (Although perhaps McLaren will have some heat absorption issues in places like Bahrain, Turkey, Hungary, Spain, etc.)

  12. Mahir C said on 16th November 2009, 14:07

    Wow, who would have thought Ross Brawn and Nobert Haug in the same team. They were the arch rivals for most of 2000s and late 90s.

    Should be an interesting combo though, calmly banana eating man and over-excited guy who can break pitwall with his bare hands.

  13. Any idea how much Mercedes and Aabar are paying for 75.1% of Brawn? And who is on the receiving end? I take it Brawn and Fry are significant $hareholder$, but what part, if any, does Honda still own?

  14. guys in all this contest?..where does kimi raikkonen stands,,kimi once said “just wait and see”..i believe in it and i think he will surely be in of the teams most probably brawn..

    • Maksutov said on 16th November 2009, 17:00

      I hope and wish Kimi goes to the now called Mercedes team. It is very unlikely he will get equal treatment if he goes to McLaren. Kimi will be faster than Kovy and most likely as good as Hamilton but very high chance that he will be 2nd , especially in regards to upgrades/ car development

  15. Am I alone in having the words “Williams”, “BAR”, “contracts” and “karma” buzzing around in my head when I think about Jenson?

    He’s fast when the car is right, but Hamilton can drive the wheels of a supermarket trolley. Head-to-head I’d see Hamilton destroying Button’s confidence in short order.

    • mp4-19b said on 16th November 2009, 14:38

      Yeah! Button is like a Labrador Retriever( I own one too) :)

      Hamilton on the other hand drives his car like a Dobermann( used to own one)

      I’d never allow Harry(my Lab), to mingle with Rocky(my old dobermann)

      Consequences can be devastating :(

    • Maksutov said on 16th November 2009, 17:01

      Head-to-head I’d see Hamilton destroying Button’s confidence in short order.


    • Hallard said on 16th November 2009, 20:58

      Amen. With all due respect to the new world champion, you would have to be out of your mind to believe Button could hold his own against Hamilton on even ground.

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