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Daimler takes charge of Merc F1

2012-11-20 08:02

DAIMLER TAKES THE REINS: Outgoing Mercedes F1 driver Michael Schumacher goes around Austin's Circuit of the Americas.

LONDON, England - German automaker Daimler has taken full control of the Mercedes Formula 1 team after buying a 40% stake owned by Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund Aabar Investments.

Involvement in F1 gives a car brand like Mercedes access to a huge global TV audience following the 20-race series and allows it to use the drivers to help promote sales of road cars.

SUBJECT TO REGULATORY APPROVAL


The sale of the F1 stake is a logical step for Aabar which has been cutting its ties with Daimler. Aabar's disposal in October, 2012 was triggered by a failed derivatives deal underpinning the investment firm's purchase of the shares, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

In October it sold its remaining 3% stake in the company which produces Mercedes cars.

Regulatory approval is still required for the sale of the stake in the F1 team and financial terms were not disclosed.

Daimler and Aabar teamed up in motor racing in late 2009 when they bought out F1's then world champion, Brawn GP, and relaunched it the following season under the Mercedes name.

Mercedes is fifth in the 12-team F1 standings, with just one race to go this season.

The team has signed a commercial agreement to compete in the sport until 2020. It hopes to perform better in 2013 after hiring former world champion Lewis Hamilton on a three-year-deal.

HAMILTON ADDS GLAMOUR


Hamilton, who won the US Grand Prix on Sunday, is one of the sport's most marketable figures who is seen as helping to add a dash of glamour to the Mercedes brand.

Before rejoining F1 in 2010, Mercedes had last run its own F1 team in 1955, when Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio drove for the team and won the third of his five titles.

The automaker pulled out of the sport that year after one of its cars crashed at the Le Mans 24 Hours, killing more than 80 spectators in motor racing's biggest disaster.

Mercedes also supplies engines to the McLaren and Force India F1 teams.
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