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Mercedes-Benz at Brawn wheel.

Byline: M. Satya Narayan

Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi's Aabar Investments and Daimler have together taken over 75.1 per cent stake in this year's Constructors' and Drivers' World Championship winners Brawn GP, enabling Mercedes-Benz to enter the Formula 1 World Championship in 2010 with its own team u Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix.

According to a joint statement issued yesterday, the Abu Dhabi-based investment company Aabar will take a 30 per cent stake in ex-Honda outfit Brawn GP and Daimler will acquire 45.1 per cent, with 24.9 per cent remaining with current owners Ross Brawn and Nick Fry.

The announcement means the end of a 15-year McLaren Mercedes partnership and motorsport gurus feel Nico Rosberg and Nick Heidfeld will probably form an all-German pair with Mercedes-Benz GP while newly-crowned drivers' champion Jenson Button and 2008 champion Lewis Hamilton could end up as an all-British pair with McLaren!

Khadim Al Qubaisi, chairman, Aabar Investment, said, "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 aeSilver Arrows'.

Aabar owns 9.1 per cent of Daimler, making it the largest shareholder in the company. "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," said Al Qubaisi.

"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," he said.

"Due to the new Formula One environment, we will face the competition in future on the most important motor sports stage with our own Silver Arrow works team," said Dr. Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.

Ross Brawn, who will remain team principal of Mercedes-Benz GP, said, "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 Aabar's offer to buy our team, which will secure its future".

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aabar in talks

Aabar Investments "is in talks" to raise its stake in Daimler, the world's second-largest maker of luxury cars, to 15 per cent from 9.1 per cent, the chairman of the Abu Dhabi government-backed investors said. "We are thinking of increasing the stake," Khadim Abdullah Al Qubaisi said in a telephone interview yesterday. "The timing will depend on the stock price."

Aabar in March paid $2.7 billion for the stake in Daimler, becoming its largest shareholder. Aabar's investment buttressed Daimler's resources as the worst auto-industry crisis in decades forced the maker of Mercedes-Benz cars and trucks to close two plants in North America.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Nov 17, 2009
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