Mercedes-Benz takes over Brawn GP, break up partnership with Mclaren
16 Nov 2009
FRANKFURT (AP) — Mercedes-Benz says it is taking over the Formula One championship team Brawn GP while ending its partnership with McLaren.
The German car maker says it will race in the future as the Mercedes GP team.
Brawn GP, which took over from Honda when it pulled out from the sport, won this year's constructors championship. Brawn's Jenson Button also won the drivers' title.
More news to follow ...
Button joins Hamilton at McLaren
Jenson Button has completed his move from Brawn GP (now known as Mercedes Grand Prix) to McLaren. He completes an all British team, lining up alongside 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton.
Button will double his £4 million Brawn salary next year, with the iconic British team reportedly offering £8 million a year to drive for them from 2010. It creates a rare situation with McLaren now fielding two world champions in their line-up - the first time F1 has seen this since the same team boasted the legendary line-up of Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna back in 1989.
This of course creates one of Button's greatest career challenges to date. Lewis Hamilton is part of the furniture at McLaren having been groomed by the team since the age of 10, and coming into this team is far from easy. We all remember what happened the last time a world champion drove alongside the young Brit.
Kimi Raikkonen rejects F1 for rallying
by Andrew Benson - BBC News
Former world champion Kimi Raikkonen will not be racing in Formula 1 next year after failing to find a drive. The 30-year-old Finn had been trying to do a deal with McLaren but they would not offer him the salary he wanted, his manager David Robertson told BBC Sport. "They couldn't afford him," Robertson said. "It wasn't in his interests to race for what they were offering so he's going to go rallying instead."
McLaren announced on Wednesday that they had signed Jenson Button for 2010. Raikkonen is trying to find a drive in the world rally championship, Roberston said, although nothing had yet been sorted out. He made his world rally debut on his home Rally Finland last August, setting competitive times before crashing out. "He wants to be back in F1 in 2011 but with all the money he has earned he doesn't want to go in a medium-type team for money," Robertson added. "The same criteria would apply as this year - he'd only go where he feels he has a chance of the world championship."
Asked whether Button's appearance on the market had wrecked Raikkonen's hopes at McLaren, Roberston said: "If they hadn't gone for Jenson, they'd have gone for someone else."
Raikkonen, who won the world title for Ferrari in 2007, was forced out of Ferrari at the end of this season to make way for Fernando Alonso, despite already having a year left on his contract. Raikkonen is being paid a sum believed to be in the region of 20m euros not to race for Ferrari in 2010, but still wanted to be paid what he felt was a fair sum to drive for another team.
Robertson would not confirm the Ferrari payment, describing the arrangements with Ferrari as "confidential". Although he won the Belgian Grand Prix, Raikkonen's final season with Ferrari was a disappointment, with a car that was never the fastest in the field. He said: "Kimi wanted a winning car, only McLaren could supply that and he only had them in his sights. He didn't want another year like this one. "But they had their issues with Mercedes, Santander and the FIA and from a financial point of view they are not the powerhouse they were. They couldn't afford him."
Mercedes announced on Tuesday that they were selling back their 40% shareholding in McLaren and buying the Brawn team instead. Spanish bank Santander will sponsor Ferrari next year, although they will still retain a smaller presence with McLaren. And governing body the FIA in 2007 fined McLaren $100m (then £49m) after they were found guilty of possessing confidential Ferrari technical information.
Asked how Raikkonen felt about the temporary end of an F1 career that started in 2001 and in which he won 18 grands prix, Robertson said: "He's one of those guys who moves on quickly - he just said 'now we concentrate on rallying'.
A McLaren spokesman refused to comment on Robertson's remarks.
Based on latest updates ... here's 2010 team & drivers lineup so far ...
Renault F1 Team
Scuderia Toro Rosso
Red Bull Racing
Force India F1 Team
Campos Meta 1
Manor Grand Prix
Other drivers available for 2010 contract -
Nico Rosberg (ex-Williams)
Nelson Piquet Jnr. (ex-Renault)
Sebastien Bourdais (ex-Toro Rosso)
Kazuki Nakajima (ex-Williams)
Nick Heidfeld (ex-BMW)
Christian Klien (ex-BMW test driver)
Jarno Trulli (ex-Toyota)
Kamui Kobayashi (ex-Toyota)
Heikki Kovalainen (ex-McLaren)
Drivers not competing in 2010
Kimi Raikkonen (on sabbatical)
Qadbak – Have taken over the former BMW team but don’t have an official entry.
Toyota entry – Toyota have withdrawn from F1 but still have an entry which a third party could take over, or it could be given to Qadbak