Madrid: Car maker Daimler AG and Abu Dhabi fund Aabar Investments PJSC are paying around £110 million (around Rs850 crore) to buy Brawn Grand Prix, whose driver Jenson Button won this year’s Formula One championship.
Daimler took a 45.1% stake and Aabar 30% in the team that will be known as Mercedes Grand Prix, the fund said in a statement on Monday. Ross Brawn, the Brackley, England- based team’s manager retains a shareholding.
Right formula: Daimler’s CEO Dieter Zetsche (left) talks to Brawn Grand Prix team manager Ross Brawn in this 1 November photo. Gero Breloer / AP
The German company will sell its 40% stake in the McLaren team over two years, the car maker’s chief executive officer Dieter Zetsche said in a conference call on Monday. Daimler will use the team to promote its Mercedes-Benz brand, while Aabar sees Brawn as a way to market Abu Dhabi for more than its oil reserves.
“The Brawn team provides an excellent platform,” Zetsche told reporters. “Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz unit couldn’t pursue its goals in Formula One as well with McLaren because it was too focused on promoting a sports car business,” Zetsche added.
Brawn, who helped Michael Schumacher win a record seven Formula One titles as a technical director, led the team named after him to success after overseeing a management buyout of Honda Motor Co.’s team. He will remain the Mercedes team manager, the Aabar statement said.
We’re talking about almost £110 million to hold Brawn, Aabar chairman Khadem Abdulla Al-Qubaisi said in a telephone interview.
The senior management group will remain in place, Brawn said in the statement. “We are honoured to be representing such a prestigious brand as Mercedes-Benz.”
Daimler is switching teams after Honda, Bayerische Motoren Werke AG and Toyota Motor Corp. quit Formula One last year on slumping sales. Mercedes will continue to provide engines to McLaren until 2015, Zetsche said.
Al-Qubaisi said its stake in Brawn will help promote Abu Dhabi, which held its first Formula One race on 1 November.
“It is a very low-cost team,” Al-Qubaisi said, adding that the Aabar fund was in general representing the government in the deal.