It has been announced that Brawn GP has sold a 75.1% stake to Mercedes in a move which will see the Brawn GP team renamed Mercedes GP for 2010.
The rising from the ashes of Brawn GP from the embers of Honda’s F1 adventure was the stuff of dreams for Ross Brawn. He got his name on an F1 team and went from being a highly respected technician and tactical master to King of his own domain. And the fairytale continued when we realised that the car Brawn had pretty much inherited from Honda was probably the best car on the grid – certainly at the start of the 2009 season. That great start lead to both Jenson Button’s World Champion title and the constructors title for Brawn GP.
But although 2009 was a fairytale, 2010 was always going to be difficult. The ‘2nd Album’ scenario. The biggest problem would not be a lack of ideas and dierction but a lack of money. The car that saw Brawn through 2009 would have to be replaced and they no longer had Honda’s deep pockets to fund development. So it was ineviatble that Brawn would look to take on a partner. But they’ve done more than that. They’ve effectively sold out to Mercedes and next year Brawn GP will become Mercedes GP.
Mercedes has taken a 75.1% stake in Brawn GP, with the remaining 24.9% split between Ross Brawn, Nick Fry and other board members. Ross Brawn will continue as team principle.
Which brings back in to focus the future of Jenson Button. Button visited McLaren last week, fuelling speculation that he may make the move to Woking. The move by Mercedes to take over Brawn could make this more or less likely. If Button feels he’ll be swamped by a corporate ethos at the new Mercedes GP team he may jump ship to McLaren. On the other hand, he should now be able to negotiate a package commensurate with his World Champion status with Mercedes money in the kitty if he wants to stay at the former Brawn GP.
But in case you’re thinking this deal will cause big problems for McLaren, you needn’t worry. Mercedes has renewed its agreement with McLaren to supply sponsorship and engines. Not only that, but they’ve extended it to 2015. And they’re going to sell the 40% of McLaren F1 they own back to McLaren over the next two years.
Looks like Mercedes are in F1 for the long haul.