Mike Stevens | Apr 20, 2009
Photo by Carlos Álvarez Palacios.

Mercedes Benz Vice-President of Motorsport, Norbert Haug, has revealed the company’s Formula One operations are running at a profit only weeks after expressing doubts over its long term future in the sport.

Haug said Mercedes’ decision to support three teams on the F1 grid has benefited the company substantially in terms of finances and reputation.

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“The interesting thing is we really are earning money from it. We have leasing contracts with both Force India and Brawn GP and this is working very well," he said.

“I have to say a big thanks to Mercedes Benz High Performance Engines in Brixworth and the guys in Stuttgart. They did a good job over the course of the winter.

“Capacity-wise we are building as many engines as we did two years ago for example and the difference is we are leasing them and we are earning money with the two customer teams. This is quite remarkable.”

Following McLaren’s disastrous performance in the opening races of the season, Haug had earlier revealed Mercedes’ parent company was not in a position to guarantee a future in the sport.

With Daimler losing approximately a $US1 million per month as a result of the global financial mess, doubts emerged over the company’s willingness to continue its F1 program.

But the stunning form of the Mercedes-backed Brawn GP cars has lifted spirits at the company’s Stuttgart headquarters.

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“I think we have quite a good standard now and it is a positive for us and I hope it is a positive for Formula One. As long as Brawn wins and it is powered by Mercedes Benz, I mean more and more people are realising that,” Haug said.

“Would they win with a different engine, probably they would win as well. But I think they are happy and if the customer is happy that is always good for a car manufacturer.”

However, Haug said supplying power to nearly a third of the field may not be sustainable, as the increased production of engines may dilute their quality.

“Capacity-wise we can afford it and we seem to have quite a good standard but, knock on wood, you never know. If you are fabricating all these engines something can happen,” he said.

“What happened last time to BMW can happen to us and can happen to anybody. Everybody who is serious will admit that and the more engines you produce the more mistakes you can make. “

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