Daimler, Aabar take full control of Mercedes GP

Updated: Mar 01, 2011, 11:28 AM IST

Frankfurt: Daimler and its largest shareholder, Abu Dhabi`s sovereign wealth fund Aabar Investments, took full control of Formula 1 racing team Mercedes-Benz GP after buying out team principal Ross Brawn.

Daimler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche said on Monday the move demonstrated the company`s determination to succeed on the racing circuit where Mercedes finished fourth last season behind Ferrari, champions Red Bull and former partner McLaren.

"Our company`s founders invented the automobile 125 years ago and the very first Mercedes was a racing car. These are the reasons why we see our Formula 1 programme as an important element of our brand history," he said in a statement.

"The acquisition of a majority stakeholding in our Silver Arrows team sends a clear signal that we intend to achieve technical and sporting success on world motorsport`s biggest and most important stage -- and to do so in cost-effective conditions."

No financial details were provided.

After buying Brawn`s 24.9 percent stake, Daimler increased its stake from 45.1 per cent to 60 percent, while Aabar boosted its holding from 30 to 40 percent.

"Aabar`s and Daimler`s joint investment in Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix is a further testament to our strong commitment to the sport of Formula 1 and to Aabar`s strategic partnership with Daimler," Aabar Chairman Khadem Al Qubaisi said in a statement.

"As Abu Dhabi is increasingly placing itself as a recognised host of international sporting events, and particularly in light of the continuing success of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Aabar is proud to be supporting one of the most successful Formula 1 racing teams in the field," Al Qubaisi added.

The last time Daimler won the Constructors` Championship was back in 1998, when it held 40 percent of McLaren-Mercedes and Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard were the pilots.

Since then, criticism of Daimler`s continued investment in the sport has repeatedly surfaced, particularly when fellow German premium carmaker BMW (BMWG.DE) dropped out entirely in 2009 after failing to nab the Constructors` Championship.

Daimler initially scored a public relations coup by luring former Ferrari pilot Michael Schumacher of Germany out of retirement to drive for Mercedes GP last season, only to see him finish two spots behind team colleague Nico Rosberg and ninth in the Drivers` Championship.

Bureau Report