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    Mercedes takes over Brawn F1 Team...

    MERCEDES GRAND PRIX ANNOUNCEMENT...

    Silver-Arrow-Mercedes-W154.jpg

    Press release: Monday 16 November 2009

    Mercedes-Benz will enter the Formula 1 World Championship with its own team, beginning with the 2010 season, and Daimler AG and McLaren Group will change their form of cooperation with effect as of 13 November 2009. This was announced by Daimler AG today.

    Daimler AG together with Aabar Investments PJSC will take over 75.1 per cent of the Brawn GP team, with Daimler taking 45.1 per cent and Aabar 30 per cent. The rest of the 24.9 per cent will remain with the current stakeholders. With 9.1 per cent, Aabar is the biggest single shareholder of Daimler AG. This transaction is subject to the approval of the EU and the Swiss cartel authorities.

    The background to this decision are the new terms and conditions for Formula 1. The “Resource Restrictions” set by FOTA and FIA effectively limit expenditure for the design, construction and running of the racing cars. In addition, there will be a significantly higher income available for a Formula 1 team generated by the commercial rights of the racing series following the signing of the new Concorde Agreement.

    The partnership between McLaren Mercedes has been in place since 1995 and ended its 15th joint Formula 1 season in 2009. The change to the form of cooperation 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.

    The McLaren Group have set themselves new targets, especially in the automotive sector, and Daimler understands and respects these new strategic objectives. For this reason, it has been agreed that the buy-back by the McLaren Group of the 40 per cent McLaren share owned by Daimler AG will be completed by 2011.

    By taking this decision, Mercedes-Benz resumes its marvellous motor racing history on the 75th anniversary of the Silver Arrows, the world’s most unique racing cars. Mercedes wants to continue the tradition in the style of these flawless Silver Arrows, which put their stamp on each era by winning the majority of the races they competed in.

    “Mercedes-Benz is the most valued and best-known premium automotive brand in the world. This brand looks for competition of the utmost quality in all relevant fields in order to continually improve its performance in the face of such new challenges”, explains Dr. Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.

    “Due to the new Formula 1 environment, we will face the competition in future on the most important motor sports stage with our own Silver Arrow works team.

    “Our new Silver Arrow Formula 1 team is a great sporting and technical challenge and we will tackle this with sporting spirit and full of enthusiasm.”

    Mercedes-Benz will restructure their Formula 1 programme and work hard to achieve further savings, going beyond the already completed steps for significant cost reductions and improved efficiency.

    Since 1995, the beginning of the partnership, McLaren and Mercedes-Benz have competed in 256 Grand Prix events and have achieved 60 victories. In 1998, 1999 and 2008, the British-German team won the drivers’ World Championships, as well as the World Constructors’ Championship in 1998. The McLaren Mercedes team became runner-up in the World Championships ten times, with five times in the drivers’ and constructors’ rankings respectively.

    After winning the drivers’ title with Lewis Hamilton last year, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes finished third in the World Constructors’ Championships this year. The 2008 World Champion won two races with his current car, the MP4-24, achieving a first historic victory with the brake energy-recovery system, KERS Hybrid. No other driver scored more points in the last eight races from the season’s total of 17 races than Lewis Hamilton.

    “I want to thank McLaren for a successful collaboration over the last decade and a half”, says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. “For the benefit of both Mercedes and McLaren, we will continue our partnership cooperation in future. We will be rivals on-track but, off-track, we will cooperate with McLaren and the other teams in order to create the best possible product for spectators worldwide.”

    “We look back on 15 successful years of great collaboration with McLaren; in that time, we won four world-championship titles and finished ten times as runner-up in the drivers’ and constructors’ rankings,” states Norbert Haug, Vice-President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport. “Since the first victory in the 1997 Australian Grand Prix, the modern Silver Arrows have achieved a total of 60 victories in 223 races to ensure that our brand symbol, the star, stands for the greatest successes in Formula 1. We thank our partner and will continue to work with McLaren based on an excellent partnership.”

    Mercedes Grand Prix, the management team of the former Brawn GP team, will continue to work under the leadership of Ross Brawn, who will continue in his well-known role. The Formula 1 team, as well as the engine team of Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines, will be co-ordinated by Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, headed by their Vice-President, Norbert Haug.

    "Brawn GP has been through an incredible journey over the last 12 months. From fighting for our survival to forging a strong relationship with Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines, winning both the Constructors and Drivers World Championships, and now accepting Daimler and Aabars offer to buy our team, which will secure its future”, Team Principal Ross Brawn looks back on a difficult beginning of the year which eventually turned into an extremely successful season.

    "Both I and my fellow Directors at Brawn GP are incredibly proud of our staff, drivers and everyone associated with our team and thank them for their commitment, outstanding teamwork and their focus on achieving results in sometimes difficult circumstances. The senior management group will remain in place to lead our team and on behalf of everyone at Brawn GP, we are honoured to be representing such a prestigious brand as Mercedes-Benz in Formula One next year and will be working together to do our best to reward their faith in our team."

    The new Silver Arrow team, Mercedes Grand Prix, will compete in Formula 1 as a works team in its own right. Synergies between the 100 per cent Daimler-owned subsidiary Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines in Brixworth, UK, and the Mercedes Grand Prix team based about 28 miles from there in Brackley in the UK, will create even greater efficiency.

    It is our target to develop a model for our Formula 1 activities which will initially be run with significantly reduced budgets by Mercedes-Benz and which, in the foreseeable future, will be self-financing”, comments Norbert Haug. “Furthermore, we naturally want to inspire our faithful spectators and TV viewers worldwide and maximize media coverage for our brand. With Formula 1, Mercedes-Benz can continue to clearly demonstrate its willingness to compete and win on the most important motor sports competition stage in the world.”

    Khadem Al Qubaisi, Chairman, Aabar Investment PJSC comments: "Aabar is delighted to join forces with Daimler AG and its world leading brand Mercedes-Benz in order to create a new Formula One Team which follows in the footsteps of the longstanding and successful tradition of the famous ‘Silver Arrows’.

    “Ever since Aabar became the largest shareholder in Daimler AG, the cooperation between our two organisations has been exemplary, and we have already co-invested in Tesla. Aabar is confident that further successes will follow in this arena.

    “Bearing in mind the recent outstanding success of the Abu Dhabi GP, which brought Formula One to the United Arab Emirates for the first time, it is especially exciting to realise that next year, our own cars will be in the field, with the genius of Ross Brawn, who is still deeply involved with the team, now backed by the unrivalled excellence of Mercedes-Benz across the entire spectrum of automotive technology. It is a fantastic prospect, which makes me both pleased and proud for my country.”

    Source: Press Release

     

    Mercedes takes over Brawn F1 Team...

    Mercedes-Brawn-F1.jpg

    (16 November 2009)

    Mercedes-Benz has announced that it has taken over the Brawn Formula 1 team and re-named it Mercedes GP after buying a 75.1 per cent stake in the squad.

    The German car giant will retain its role as McLaren's engine supplier until at least 2015, but will sell its 40 per cent stake in the squad back to the team over the next two years.

    "Mercedes will compete in the F1 world championship next year starting with its own factory team," said head of Mercedes cars, Dr Dieter Zetsche.

    "This is possible by the agreed acquisition of 75.1 per cent of Brawn GP, 45.1 per cent from Daimler and 30 per cent from our partner Aabar Investments. The rest will be with the current share - Ross Brawn, Nick Fry and other members. The interests of Daimler are aligned therefore it will be a true Mercedes-Benz team.

    "Ross Brawn will continue to be the team principal and thereby we are maintaining his strength. Just like the engine team at Mercedes Benz High Performance Engines, the new Mercedes Benz grand prix team will be co-ordinated by Mercedes Benz Motorsport which is as everybody knows headed by Norbert Haug."

    Neither driver has yet been announced for the Brawn squad. 2009 driver Rubens Barrichello has already joined Williams for next season while Jenson Button has yet to decide on his future.

    Mercedes-takes-over-Brawn-F1_Autosport-article-1

     

    Mercedes renews McLaren's engine deal...

    McLaren will retain its engine supply deal with Mercedes-Benz for at least another six years, despite the German car company's new involvement at Brawn GP.

    Mercedes-Benz ended weeks of speculation about its future F1 plans on Monday when it announced that it was buying a controlling stake in Brawn.

    Its switch in focus to Brawn had led to speculation that it could turn its back on McLaren entirely when its current deal ended in 2011.

    However, following discussions over the last few weeks, McLaren and Mercedes-Benz have reached agreement for an engine supply deal until at least the end of 2015. The terms of the deal mean that there are options for the commitment to extend beyond then too.

    With Mercedes switching its main focus to Brawn GP, it has also been announced that the McLaren Group will purchase the 40 per cent shareholding that Daimler AG currently has in the team. This will take place in a phased process to be completed before 2011.

    Mercedes-renews-McLaren-engine-deal_Autosport-article-2

     

    Dennis hails new Mercedes agreement...

    McLaren Group boss Ron Dennis believes that his company's Formula 1 team will come out of its revised partnership with Mercedes-Benz a stronger force thanks to its increased independence.

    Mercedes-Benz announced on Monday that it was to focus its efforts on Brawn GP , and bring an end to what had been an exclusive tie-up with McLaren.

    Although those plans mean McLaren will not enjoy the financial support from Mercedes-Benz it has had in the past, Dennis believes that the benefits of being free to run its own car company, McLaren Automotive, will actually be a help to its F1 efforts.

    His stance comes after a deal was struck with Mercedes-Benz to confirm the German car maker will supply engines until the end of 2015 at the earliest - with options available to keep the partnership going beyond then.

    McLaren will also continue to run in the silver and red colours that have been a hallmark of its tie-up with both Mercedes-Benz and title sponsor Vodafone.

    "This is a win-win situation, for both McLaren and Daimler," said Dennis, who is chairman of McLaren Automotive and a founding shareholder in the McLaren Group.

    "I've often stated that it's my belief that, in order to survive and thrive in 21st-century Formula 1, a team must become much more than merely a team.

    "That being the case, in order to develop and sustain the revenue streams required to compete and win grands prix and world championships, companies that run Formula 1 teams must broaden the scope of their commercial activities.

    "Nonetheless, all of our partners will of course continue to play a crucial role in our Formula 1 programme. For that reason, and because the engines they produce are very competitive, we're delighted that Mercedes-Benz has committed to continue not only as an engine supplier but also as a partner of ours until 2015 – and perhaps thereafter."

    McLaren plans to buy back the 40 percent stake in the company that Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler has had in the team, which will further strengthen McLaren's independence.

    Dennis added: "The next few years will be a very exciting time for McLaren, during which period we intend to become an ever-stronger technological and economic force. Formula 1 will always be a core activity, for sound business reasons as well as for historical sporting reasons: to be clear, our Formula 1 business has traditionally enjoyed great financial security, largely as a consequence of the longevity of our contracts with our partners, many of which have exceeded 15 years of continuous involvement with McLaren. Indeed, two of our partners have been with us for more than 25 years.

    "We're risk-averse by design. Over the past two years we've analysed in great detail the challenge of entering the high-performance production sports car market. In the MP4-12C, which will be introduced to market in 2011, we have a car that has inherited the genes of the iconic McLaren F1 of 1994 and has already been the subject of much global media acclaim.

    "It is proposed that it will be produced in a new state-of-the-art production facility adjacent to the existing award-winning McLaren Technology Centre at Woking."

    Ron-Dennis-hails-new-Mercedes-agreement_Autosport-article-3

    Smiley SmileySmiley


    Re: Mercedes takes over Brawn F1 Team...

    Good news for the Mercedes Fans!

    Great deal for Ross Brawn - well made business transaction.

     


    Re: Mercedes takes over Brawn F1 Team...

    Autosport interview with Mercedes' Dieter Zetsch and Norbert Haug...

    Mercedes-Brawn-F1.jpg

    Q: Can you tell us if the look and feel of the Brawn will change to be Silver Arrows next year?

    Dieter Zetsch: The answer is yes. Without any detail so far of how this will look, we are on the way to develop that, but it will clearly be Silver Arrows.

    Q: Could you comment on driver line-up?

    DZ: Not yet, we are working diligently on that topic but there is no final decision there therefore I cannot comment on it.

    Q: Will you continue to supply Mercedes engines next season to McLaren?

    DZ: Yes, we will and not only next season but we agreed that we will do that ultimately - of course, for a price - to 2015.

    Q: You mentioned that McLaren has agreed to buy out the shareholding - is there any other penalty clause that you have to honour?

    DZ: There is no penalty whatsoever. There are contractual obligations that we will of course fulfil, but there is no penalty.

    Q: There has been a lot of speculation that the new Mercedes team may field two German drivers next season?

    DZ: What we would like to see would be the best drivers in the two seats. We certainly would not be opposed if one were German, but that is not a pre requisite which we would give the team.

    Norbert Haug: I read some speculation and I understand this because we could not give this information earlier. But this will be an international team for Mercedes-Benz is a global player. If you look back in our history we have very often been criticised for not having a German driver, so we were always open and we took the driver decision always together with McLaren. This will be the same in the future. We want to have the best ones and we definitely do not want to have the pure German team - it's an international Silver Arrows team and we want to have the best drivers in the car.

    Q: It seems to be general knowledge that Nico Rosberg has already been hired and that because you've hired him you might be running scared of taking on Jenson Button?

    DZ: First of all, we have just announced that we will acquire a share in the Brawn team so we haven't done anything so far. Whatever could have been done would have been done by Ross Brawn, so with that I would like to leave the speculation of drivers.

    Q Would you not want to have Jenson Button in the team next year?

    NH: We are in negotiations but all the accurate information is around and we are talking. That's why we are not able to announcement driver line-up. We cannot comment on the drivers.

    Q: Has Ross Brawn given you a commitment for a certain number of years that he will stay in change?

    DZ: Yes, he has made a certain commitment and that was very valuable to us.

    Q: Can you put a figure on how much this is costing Daimler?

    DZ: No.

    Q: What about commercial sponsors?

    DZ: The only thing we can say is that a number of discussions are underway which are promising.

    Q: Ross Brawn is committed – will Nick Fry remain in his current role?

    DZ: Without going through the entire team in general I think the team has proved that it can be very competitive and successful, so from a shareholders perspective, there's no reason to change a winning team.

    Q: Will the team remain in the UK?

    DZ: Yes. That is obviously a great advantage because Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines are close neighbours and this is logistically highly welcome.

    Q: You said there is no reason to change a winning team and Jenson Button is a key element as a winning driver. There's confusion as to why someone is asking for a salary that is smaller than some world champions are getting hasn't been snapped up?

    DZ: It seems that you have more information than I do.

    Q: To continue with that, the negotiations between Button and Brawn have been with Ross, but now Mercedes is in charge that presumably changes the financial landscape – will that mean you take over the negotiations?

    DZ: No. It's very similar to what we used to have in our partnership before. Very clearly, Ross Brawn is the team principal he runs the team together with his management team. I am involved as the responsible guy in Mercedes Motorsport, but he is the boss of the team and we have to report to Stuttgart so we are co-ordinated. So in reality if you have discussions and you are a racer you will not find most of the time five different names on the list, you will find two or three so you come to agreement. Very clearly Ross Brawn is the team principal, we are co-ordinated and that's it.

    Q: Norbert, when will you be able to name your drivers?

    NH: I would rather hope next week, but don't kill me if it [takes] a couple of weeks longer.

    Q: What are the strategic objectives?

    DZ: First of all the brand of motor racing goes back to motor racing. You do motor racing in order to promote your brand in the world market – there's no other platform in sport - or perhaps even beyond - with such a strong presence around the globe and in emerging markets. With the history of Mercedes we have the best opportunity to use that programme for the improvement of our brand.

    Q: You mentioned McLaren branching into road cars as being part of the reason – were the big scandals that the team was involved in a factor?

    DZ: We are looking forward. We gave you the clear information, we had a very successful common history with four championships and many victories and now we continue as engine partner.

    Mercedes-interview_Autosport-link


    Re: Mercedes takes over Brawn F1 Team...

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/8362295.stm

     


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    RT Moderator - 997.1 Carrera S GT Silver/Cocoa, -20mm/LSD, PSE, short shifter, SportDesign rims, Zuffenhausen collection


    Re: Mercedes takes over Brawn F1 Team...

    Those are surprising news, I´ve heard about Mercedes´ intention to buy stakes of BrawnGP but expected both teams, McLaren and BrawnGP, to receive equal status. In retrospective, McLaren´s obviously given Mercedes enough reasons to depart from the current route.

    Now that funding is provided, the future for Brawn/Mercedes looks interesting. I´d say Button´d either step off as World Champion or remain at Brawn for upcoming seasons. I just see no perspective in changing teams, neither McLaren nor any runner-up team.


    Re: Mercedes takes over Brawn F1 Team...

    McLAREN AND MERCEDES-BENZ ANNOUNCE REALIGNED LONG-TERM STRATEGIC ALLIANCE

    McLaren-Mercedes-logo.jpg

    16th November 2009

    McLaren and Mercedes-Benz are delighted to announce a realigned long-term strategic alliance.

    The agreement covers the next six Formula 1 seasons (2010-15) and also provides mechanisms whereby the partnership may continue beyond 2015. 

    The reaffirmation of the two companies’ commitment to each other is the result of many weeks of careful and co-operative discussion between the McLaren Group and Daimler AG (the parent companies of, respectively, McLaren Racing and Mercedes-Benz) and covers both parties’ continued involvement in the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 partnership as well as a shared intention to act in the overall best interests of the sport of Grand Prix racing. It also reflects the independent vision of both companies with regard to their automotive production strategies. 

    The realigned long-term strategic alliance is reflected in three principal resolutions, as follows:

    Mercedes-Benz: to power McLaren’s Formula 1 cars until 2015

    Having begun in 1995, the McLaren/Mercedes-Benz partnership is already one of the longest engine-supply associations in Formula 1 history; 2009 was its 15th consecutive year and 2015 will be its 21st consecutive year, by which time it will have become by some margin the longest such association in Formula 1 history. Both the McLaren Group and Daimler AG were therefore committed to securing its continuation as part of a realigned long-term strategic alliance, and to have provided mechanisms whereby the partnership may continue beyond 2015. The team will continue to be known as Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, its distinctive silver-with-red livery will remain unchanged, and Mercedes-Benz will continue as both an engine supplier and a partner.

    McLaren Group: to purchase Daimler AG’s 40 per cent shareholding

    In a transaction structured so as to be completed by 2011, the McLaren Group will undertake a phased purchase of the 40 per cent shareholding currently owned by Daimler AG. As a result, the McLaren Group will become a fully independent stand-alone corporate entity.

    McLaren Automotive: spun out of the McLaren Group

    The McLaren Group will continue as the parent company of McLaren Racing (and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes), McLaren Marketing, McLaren Electronic Systems, McLaren Applied Technologies and McLaren Electronics Inc (USA), focusing chiefly on Formula 1 and associated technologies, while McLaren Automotive has been spun out of the McLaren Group and from 2011 will begin to manufacture its own range of high-performance production sports cars, targeted to penetrate a series of meticulously-selected premium automotive market segments. As such, McLaren Automotive will continue to develop according to a robust business strategy that has been formulated with McLaren’s customary prudence and rigour. The McLaren Group and McLaren Automotive will continue to evolve in line with their respective business strategies, and may in time adopt slightly different shareholder groupings, but they will always share a common goal: to be the best in the world in their respective fields.

    Ron Dennis (Executive Chairman, McLaren Automotive; Founding Shareholder, McLaren Group) said:

    “This is a win-win situation, for both McLaren and Daimler.

    “I’ve often stated that it’s my belief that, in order to survive and thrive in 21st-century Formula 1, a team must become much more than merely a team. That being the case, in order to develop and sustain the revenue streams required to compete and win Grands Prix and World Championships, companies that run Formula 1 teams must broaden the scope of their commercial activities.

    “Nonetheless, all of our partners will of course continue to play a crucial role in our Formula 1 programme. For that reason, and because the engines they produce are very competitive, we’re delighted that Mercedes-Benz has committed to continue not only as an engine supplier but also as a partner of ours until 2015 – and perhaps thereafter.

    “The next few years will be a very exciting time for McLaren, during which period we intend to become an ever-stronger technological and economic force. Formula 1 will always be a core activity, for sound business reasons as well as for historical sporting reasons: to be clear, our Formula 1 business has traditionally enjoyed great financial security, largely as a consequence of the longevity of our contracts with our partners, many of which have exceeded 15 years of continuous involvement with McLaren. Indeed, two of our partners have been with us for more than 25 years.

    “We’re risk-averse by design. Over the past two years we’ve analysed in great detail the challenge of entering the high-performance production sports car market. In the MP4-12C, which will be introduced to market in 2011, we have a car that has inherited the genes of the iconic McLaren F1 of 1994 and has already been the subject of much global media acclaim. It is proposed that it will be produced in a new state-of-the-art production facility adjacent to the existing award-winning McLaren Technology Centre at Woking [Surrey, UK].”

    Source: McLaren press release


    Re: Mercedes takes over Brawn F1 Team...

    Sign Vettel, sign Vettel, sign Vettel, sign Vettel, SIGN VETTEL!!! 

    This is great news, good for Brawn! Didn't see this coming but it is very cool. I love the respect between MB and McLaren with them doing their own thing, true character on both sides. This could make F1 very interesting. FERRARI WAKE UP 

    Also with Toyota, Honda and BMW gone maybe we will see AUDI/VW/PORSCHE/BUGATTI


    --

    indeed shifting is ancient technology - so is a fuel burning engine..  I happen to like both :) 
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    Re: Mercedes takes over Brawn F1 Team...

    What a steal by Brawn to get the primary attention away from McLaren. Despite what Daimler claims, the primary focus WILL be on Brawn and not on McLaren.

    With this development, I predict another disappointing season for Ferrari and the title will be Brawn to lose.



    Re: Mercedes takes over Brawn F1 Team...

    I am happy that there will be at last a real competitor to Ferrari in F1. A manufacturer like Mercedes, with real stature and budget to counter the Cavallino.

    However, the Schumacher scenario (unlikely IMO) would not be a good idea, besides the ephemeral publicity it will generate.


    --
    It's not where you're going, it's how you get there that counts


    Re: Mercedes takes over Brawn F1 Team...

    A real competitor to Ferrari? I would think that McLaren has been one for some time. I think that Red Bull will continue with their upward trend for 2010 also.

    Mercedes has said that one of the reasons they did this was because they can now afford it. It seems they aren't looking to throw their financial weight. It will be a formidable team with the added resources that Mercedes can bring but it might take some time before we see any major differences.

    I have to agree with you that the chance of Schumi returning are slim, and even less so with him in the Mercedes seat. They, (Mercedes) have wanted him in the past so it's not impossible. He did race for them before in sports cars.


    Re: Mercedes takes over Brawn F1 Team...

    BBC Sport: “Mercedes want Schumacher - Jordan"

    (20 November 2009) 

    Michael Schumacher is poised for a sensational return to Formula 1 with the new Mercedes team, according to BBC Sport pundit Eddie Jordan. Mercedes want the seven-time champion as their lead driver after taking over title-winning Brawn, Jordan says.

    "The possibility is being actively pursued and I believe it is going to happen," said Jordan.

    Schumacher's spokeswoman Sabine Kehm told BBC Sport a return was "highly unlikely - but never say never".

    The plan is for Schumacher to be a stop-gap before Mercedes can prise German rising star Sebastian Vettel out of Red Bull, Jordan said.

    The move would reunite Schumacher with Mercedes GP team boss Ross Brawn, who masterminded all his seven titles at Benetton and Ferrari.

    The German, who will be 41 in January, had to pull out of a temporary comeback to F1 last year as a replacement for the injured Ferrari driver Felipe Massa because of a neck injury. But Kehm said that while Schumacher had not had any new tests on his neck, it was expected to be healed by the end of the year.

    Jordan said: "It started with a meeting between Michael, Ross Brawn and Daimler chief executive officer Dieter Zetsche at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. At the moment, it is not possible for Michael to drive for Mercedes because he has a consultancy contract with Ferrari. But I understand he was due to meet Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo with a view to him being released - and that it will be approved because it is in the interests of F1."

    "I believe that is being planned at the moment. I also believe Ross and Michael have spoken in recent times and that Michael likes the idea of driving a Mercedes run by Ross. It's a mouth-watering idea. Schumacher was bitterly disappointed he didn't get to come back to replace Massa - he's keen to race again. And this is a dream for both parties."

    "Michael and Mercedes go way back - he drove for their sportscar team before he raced in F1, and they were responsible for getting him in to F1. They paid the then Jordan team to give him his debut in 1991."

    "He has won all these titles but never driven in F1 for Mercedes."

    The Brawn team rose out of the ashes of Honda, which quit F1 in December 2008, and won the drivers' world championship with Jenson Button in 2009, as well as the constructors' title.

    Mercedes's takeover was announced on Monday, but the team are looking for a lead driver following Button's decision to move to McLaren for 2010. Signing Schumacher would be an ideal way for Mercedes to head off the negative publicity that has arisen from letting the world champion slip through their fingers.

    A source close to Ferrari says the Italian team have yet to be asked to release Schumacher. Schumacher's contract with the company was changed recently to remove him from any links with the F1 team, for which he was a consultant. He is now an ambassador, consultant and test driver for the company's road car arm.

    It is understood that during the summer Schumacher explored the idea of driving a third car for Ferrari on an occasional basis, but this is forbidden by F1's rules. Kehm said Schumacher had given her no indication that he wanted to make a full-time return.

    Vettel, 22, is contracted to drive for Red Bull until the end of 2011 and, while contracts are often broken in F1, Mercedes may not find it easy to buy him out. Red Bull is owned by the soft drinks company's founder Dietrich Mateschitz who, as a billionaire, does not exactly need the money.

    If the Schumacher deal does not come off, fellow German Nick Heidfeld is considered most likely to get the second Mercedes seat alongside Nico Rosberg, another German, whose contract has been signed but not officially announced.

    But another possibility for Mercedes might be the highly rated Polish driver Robert Kubica. He has signed for Renault, but the French company is deciding whether to continue in F1, with a decision due before the end of the year.

    If Renault pulled out, Kubica would be on the market, and he might be an attractive option for Mercedes, who have moved to dismiss widespread claims that they are determined to sign two German drivers by describing their new F1 team as "global".

    BBC-Sport-F1-article-link-1

    BBC-Sport-F1-video-link-2


     
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