Mike Stevens | Sep 10, 2009

MERCEDES-BENZ'S BID to purchase a controlling stake in Brawn GP has moved closer to reality after reports in Germany indicated the parties had reached a verbal agreement.

German magazine Auto Motor und Sport reports that Mercedes has agreed to purchase a 75% stake in Brawn GP by 2012, when its exclusive agreement with McLaren expires, allowing the company to control a Formula 1 team for the first time since 1955.

Although Mercedes-Benz wouldn’t take control of Brawn GP until then, the shares will be held in the meantime by Aabar of Abu Dhabi, a major Daimler investor.

Daimler Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche told Auto Motor und Sport: “Our partners don't have only the finances, but also a big emotional interest in automobiles and especially our brand.

“If we wanted to change anything with our Formula One commitment then we could certainly speak with Abu Dhabi.”

Purchasing a stake in 1999 to coincide with the announcement of the SLR, Mercedes currently own 40% of McLaren Racing, but the terms of the agreement permit the remaining investors to overrule the company on most matters concerning the team’s future.

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The buyout’s effect on its current partnership with the Woking-based outfit remains to be seen, but in recent times, the companies appear to have drifted apart with Mercedes failing to have any public involvement in McLaren’s recently launched production car.

The Brawn GP deal could also potentially spell the end of Red Bull Racing’s hopes to secure Mercedes engines next season after the team expressed dissatisfaction with a recent spate of failures related to its Renault power plant.

And with Renault rumoured to be considering walking away from Formula 1 due to recent allegations of race fixing at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, Red Bull’s future seems somewhat clouded.

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