F1 Winter Break
Brawn name could disappear and cars run as Silver Arrows next season
Brawn name could disappear and cars run as Silver Arrows next season
Posted By: James Allen  |  10 Nov 2009   |  2:49 pm GMT  |  91 comments

The World Champion’s number one plate could once again appear on a Silver Arrow next season.

Reports in Germany suggest that a deal is being discussed whereby the Brawn GP name could disappear after just one all conquering season in Formula 1 and the champions would be rebranded as Mercedes from next season onwards.

The number one on a Silver Arrow next season? (Photo: Darren Heath)

The number one on a Silver Arrow next season? (Photo: Darren Heath)

According to Auto Motor und Sport, the deal for Mercedes to acquire 75% of Brawn, via its main shareholder Aabar, is in the closings stages and now it is a question of negotiation with McLaren as to whether Mercedes is able to rebrand the team starting next year.

Mercedes still has a contract with McLaren until the end of 2011 and McLaren-Mercedes sponsors, like Vodafone and Johnnie Walker are contracted forwards several years. So it is a question of what those deals are predicated upon, in terms of the look and feel of the cars, the branding and naming rights as to whether Mercedes can run its cars as Silver Arrows or whether this would be a conflict. There will be a deal to be struck as there will over the valuation of Mercedes 40% shareholding in the team.

It is ironic that this has largely come about because McLaren approved the last minute engine supply deal for Brawn as part of the FOTA spirit of brotherhood at the start of the year.

For Mercedes Brawn this represents a chance to start more or less afresh, cutting loose from the “scandals” of the last three years and conflicting road car projects. They want a controlling interest in a winning team and would never have got that from McLaren. This opportunity comes at a time when costs have been greatly reduced in F1.

It also offers the company its first opportunity to work with Ross Brawn, having raced against him in sportscars (when Ross was at Jaguar) and F1 (when Ross was with Benetton and Ferrari). As well as retaining a shareholding he is likely to be the subject of a “key man” clause in the sale contract which will tie him to staying on at the helm for a period of time – perhaps three or five years.

I rang Mercedes today but a spokesman was only able to say what the company has been saying for some time, which is, “We have a long term commitment with McLaren and we don’t comment on rumours.”

They will supply engines to McLaren for two more seasons, but my understanding is that McLaren is trying to extend that until the end of 2012. There has been talk of McLaren making its own engine. The new McLaren road car has a McLaren badged engine which is being built for them by German engine specialist, Mahle.

Mercedes was given the all clear to supply a fourth F1 team, which it would like to be Red Bull, but they need McLaren approval to do so. That has not been forthcoming so far and it seems more likely that Red Bull will stay with Renault.

Brawn’s Nick Fry says that the team has a title sponsor and secondary sponsors in place for next year. I have heard the name Orange associated with the team, but there are also suggestions in the Auto Motor und Sport article that the team had lined up an alcohol and a gambling company, which was a potential problem with Aabar’s Arab owners.

Ross Brawn meanwhile has said that he expects the car to be competitive next season. He told me in Abu Dhabi that he thinks the team will “not disgrace itself” next season and that “success makes us more determined not to slip back”.

Speaking earlier this week at a homecoming parade in the team’s base at Brackley he said that the team had just about got away with doing the minimum on this year’s car while throwing resources at next year’s car and he feels that the team will be competitive,
“The main thing for us is that it’s the second year of working with Mercedes,” he said. “It should be a much better installation because we’ve had an opportunity to begin early and have the sort of exhaust system that we need, design the gearbox properly for the engine, design the chassis properly for the engine, put the right coolers on… all of those things.”

Brawn also said that he was” 99% certain” that world champion Jenson Button would stay with the team.

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I think this shows the acceptance of Ross Brawn of his own limitations (yes he does have some). He understands the complexities of running a team and the burden created so tying up with Mercedes will ease those troubles allowing him to focus on the performance side of the business.

I fully expect a 4 horse race next season, which will make for facinating viewing.


1) It would be a real shame to lose the name Brawn from the cars. I think Brawn Mercedes sounds better than just Mercedes.

2) Amazing that Ross says "we did just about the minimum" and that its clear from those statements about packaging that their car was so far from what it could have been - if they could have packaged it correctly perhaps they'd have beaten Red Bull all year long, rather than just at the early part of the year.

3) If McLaren are going to be showing gambling related branding I hope they make a dog of a car and wish them every failure that can come their way.

Having seen the fallout of several people addicted to gambling and how quickly it destroyed their lives, friendships, careers, (not just their finances) I can safely say wishing someone heroin addiction in place of that would be a kind thing.


Brawn DID lead the Championships all season long... both the drivers and constructors... they were not as all conquering as some of Ferrari's or McLaren's best years...


Bet you a tenner it doesn't happen.


They didn't need to be any quicker. Next year would have suffered if they tried to beat the stuffing out of everyone all season long. Brawn runs a team like Prost races a car. Winning at the slowest possible pace. Excellent technique.

Cheers to keeping the Brawn (at worst Brawn Mercedes, not Mercedes Brawn) name and hoping gambling doesn't become the replacement for tobacco sponsorship.


It's Brawn who potentially have the gambling sponsor silly, not McLaren.

Read the article next time.


The gambling sponsorship referred to Brawn, not McLaren...


Yup, misread it. In that case I wish that fate on Brawn Mercedes.



Any substance to the rumor from a few weeks ago of McLaren buying out BMW's F1 engine works?

From a marketing point of view, it would make sense since McLaren are using their own bespoke engine for their MP4-12C road car. It seems like the relationship between McLaren and Mercedes has really been under a lot of tension the last couple of seasons.

Joe A.


No, they are not doing that


Not wishing to sound too partisan, but I am not sure what the weaknesses are that you mention.

I am not being critical of your opinion, I just can't actually put my finger on anything.


Curious, I would have thought that the Brawn GP name has the value that sponsors would rather be associated with.

As lovely as Mercedes is, and it certainly is, the tide is turning against manufacturers. I fully expect the Brawn name to return next year, it makes little sense in changing it, for McLaren or for Brawn.


The Brawn name is known in F1. From a global marketing perspective the Mercedes Brand is better known. By re-branding with the Mercedes name, sponsors will be adding their names to a front running car on a global stage. A good example of this is the VMM Car. I suspect many people do not know what many of their sponsors sell or make. It makes no difference that we do not know what the nature of their business is, everytime they advertise their products you will see a Three-Pointed Star in the background. To all companies,brand awareness/association is everything.


What does this do to Mclaren's driver situation?


So, this is the reason of negotiations of McLaren and Kimi. If Mercedes leaves, Kimi doesn't have time to waste on making new engine while Hamilton can because he is much younger. And if Ron Dennis is back, that for sure will mean Kimi out of F1 unfortunately. Just hope McLaren-Mercedes partnership stays two more years. So we can see a hell of a seasons.


I think Kimi is looking for pre-credit crunch money in a post credit crunch environment.


He really should look at Button's realistic monetary sacrifice for the team and his career... Kimi does seem a little precious considering he's only one of a select group of WCs in F1 at the moment.


Adam it may be better if you learn grammar. Better is being written with small "b". So see ya!


It ain't true. Robertson said the money wasn't the real problem, it is the mclaren and mercedes relationship which influence drivers..


It may be Better to learn how to spell McLaren before making pronouncements like this.


You are wrong James. Look at this :

Räikkönen's manager David Robertson told the truth when he told IS Urheilu last Sunday in Abu Dhabi about his protegé's situation:

- Even though they are claiming in the papers that the biggest problem in the negotiations has to do with Kimi's demands for salary, it isn't true, Robertson said.

The biggest problem is that there's a huge lack of trust between Mercedes and McLaren that will also affect on the drivers' situation.

So dig a little more...

Nice comment Brace 🙂


So you believe his manager, with a vested interest in the image and propaganda portrayed, over an impartial investigative journalist with a record for holding back until he's sure he's reflecting the truth?

Sounds like someone's wearing Kimi tinted glasses.


I think when you get fired (like Raikkonen essentially is) you need to take that into account as not the brightest point in your CV while negotiating with your new employer.

Plus the credit crunch as you mentioned it.


Really enjoy reading your blog, it's such a joy to read some well-informed

comment. I have a question, and was hoping you would be able to answer it:

Last March Dieter Mateschitz announced that Toro Rosso would be looking for

a buyer. Obviously, the team has not been sold as yet, and they have

announced, more or less, that Buemi and Alguersuari will drive for them

again next year. Given this, are Toro Rosso still about to be sold,

potentially, or have they been taken off the market? If they are still for

sale, why haven't they been able to find a buyer as yet? Given that that

all the spots on the grid for next year have been taken (assuming that there

are no further withdrawals, or the grid is extended to 28 cars), shouldn't

an F1 team be hot property to anyone looking to enter F1 - and given that

there were so many entries for the three spots, there seems to be no lack of

interest in entering F1.

Hope you can clear this up for me!


He's taken them off the market once. I think there are always potential buyers out there. He has advisers telling him what he should do and he listens to them a lot. I've not heard much about anyone looking at Toro Rosso, but one day he may just decide to accept and offer and move on with just Red Bull Racing. F1 is in his debt - he has poured a fortune into the sport and lately has added some real value with RBR, in my view.


So James, what's the case with customer chassis for the next season. Is it allowed or not?

Now I know why people say they can't keep with the rules any more. I'm a die hard fan and even I don't really know what is going on sometimes.


Customer cars are banned for next season and they're building their own


Totaly agree James, I'm really please he has gotten some rewards with the RBR team, I hope it continues. They have a jem with Vettel!


I thought the only reason they wanted to sell STR is because they weren't allowed to own two teams. Either this is wrong or the rule must have been changed. Either option is highly likely.


No it's because they weren't allowed to use customer chassis. STR has to build its own and that involves a lot more expense. That wasn't the model Mateschitz was sold when he bought the team.


This point isn't brought up enough during the "oh no, manufacturers are leaving" discussion. As long as you have two or three engine manufacturers and a handful of Mateschitzs and Mallyas the sport will be perfectly fine. RBR's cars always look awesome, Toyota couldn't figure out how to paint a car after how many seasons?



Slight technical issue I'm getting, using http://www.jamesallenonf1.com I only get articles up to "manufacturer era in F1 is over", to see the latest articles I have to add "/2009" on to the end. I only realised because I followed a link from 606 back here.

Not being picky, but I have you in my favourites to check the news during first coffee break of the day, and couldn't understand why there were no new articles. Wouldn't want to miss your insights.


me too.

with Chrome, it keeps showing the articles up to “manufacturer era in F1 is over”.


Opera seems to work fine.


I've had exactly the same problem. I used to visit the site all the time in Google Chrome until it stubbornly stopped showing me newer pages. Clearing the browser cache made no difference, but the problem wouldn't occur if I used another browser. The problem is this http header:

WP-Super-Cache: WP-Cache

...which is being sent to the non-updating browser, but not to the others. The way to get the site to stop sending it is to clear all jamesallenonf1-related cookies. When I deleted the cookies, the current pages came right up.


Blocking cookies worked for me as well


I think this is Firefox and Safari Browser Issue. The site doesn't refresh at all in my Firefox browser, while it works fine with Internet Explorer.

PS - I tried clearing cache and cookies in Firefox, no difference


If deleting your cache doesn't work, then delete your cookies - I've been having the same problems, but since I blocked cookies for this site it has been working fine


Deleting cache and cookies didn't work for me on a mac - the only solution I've found is to completely reset Safari. Not much fun when it deletes all your saved details for every website you visit.

Good job it's worth it!


Hi James,

Do you think Mclaren will have any hope of remaining the force it is without the backing of Mercedes. And is this 40% going to be a big sticking point? Because presumably Mercedes won't want to give Mclaren a huge amount of money if they are going to be competing with them in the near future.


McLaren have won 12 WDC's & 8 CC's powered by 5 different engines-Illmor MZB,Honda,Honda turbo,Tag Porsche turbo,Ford Cosworth DFV.I think you'll find they're the most well qualified team to recover from what I consider treacherous behavior by Boss Haug & MBZ.


It is McLaren who will be giving Mercedes a huge amount of money to buy back the 40% shares Mercedes owns in McLaren.

It will pain Ron Dennis greatly to give huge amounts of money to a significant competitor.


I've heard that RD would be only too happy to add Merc's 40% to his own personal stash of McLaren shares...

So far from hating the prospect; it'll be his own cash buying Merc out.

IF they decide to sell that is. I can imagine they'll like to hang on to those shares as long as they can.


lol, it's McLaren who needs to give money to Mercedes to take back 40% but at the same time, it's more of a case that Mercedes wants to sell it than McLaren wants to buy it. McLaren would be happy to stick with Merc but Merc wants to go their own way. That's why negotiating the price is not going to be a straight thing.


oh yeah oops i meant Mclaren giving Mercedes loads of money.


Would be a shame to see the Brawn name vanish, but if it keeps them funded to stay at the top then it is a good thing. I just hope they let the current management carry on unhindered.


James, I've heard there will only be 6 days of pre-season testing! Please, please tell me I'm wrong!


I know it's not much, but I'd be surprised if it was that little. I think there are three sessions planned before the first race, so more like nine to twelve days, but I'll look into it.


This 'testing ban' rule is a failure. I'd like to see evidence of any significant NET cost reductions from it. What teams don't spend on testing days is spent instead on various simulation tech in the factories surely?

It will be rescinded at some point sooner or later.

I just wish they'd skip to the end and let the teams test more now...

Why not set an annual budget cap for circuit testing and give the teams 100% free-reign of where and crucially when... that will then introduce twin elements of efficiency and also whether to overload the pre-season program at the expense of continued in season testing.


I take it they get the choice of venue again? (i.e. risk rain in Spain or sand in Bahrain?).


typo alert: You meant Mahle, not Mahler ... although Mahler engines would definitely make a lovely old noise, tie a symphony to each gear in the MP4-12C pre-cog gearbox.

Hopefully Ross has spoken to Peter Sauber for an idea of what sort of defensive langauge he needs to include in any potentisl contract to prevent the whole enterprise being arbitrarily left high and dry at a weekend's notice.

Like Yogi Berra said: "It's déjà vu all over again".


James did mean Mahle but it is wrong anyway. The engine partner is Ricardo. They made the switch earlier this year.


Over the last year we've read probably half a dozen distinct rumours on the engine, starting from a big fat AMG lump through various shades of Cosworth Tech/Mahle (from a Merc retune, through to components supply, to finally a bespoke design) but now I agree, the weight seems to be definitely settling on a McLaren/Ricardo.

"[Anthony] Sheriff claims the MP4-12C is 100 percent McLaren, which is why it carries the "MP4" designation just like the F1 racing cars.

Even the engine is a 100 percent McLaren effort. The M838T is an intercooled, twin-turbo 3.8-liter V8 with variable valve timing and lift.

The 90-degree V8 with its racing-style flat-plane crankshaft has been developed in partnership with Ricardo, the British powertrain specialists."

src: http://www.insideline.com/features/2011-mclaren-mp4-12c-first-look.html

Someone, crack open the back of the showcar and give us all a shout.


How about Mercedes Brawn?


Sounds too much like a porn actress.


That would tie in nicely with the gambling aspect. And all the ill will I hope it brings them.

I was really impressed with Brawn this year. But not now.


James didn't Ross say at the start of year that he didn't really want his name above the door, but that he was left with little choice without a title sponsor?

If so, then he will be quite happy if this comes off.

Btw I have enjoyed this site all year, so thanks for an interesting post race read.......


http://www.insideline.com/mclaren/mp4-12c/mclaren-mp4-12c-supercar-breaks-cover.html says the Engine is built by Cosworth (which could be very intresting)


The fist stage of the design programme was indeed handled by Mahle. Mahle acquired Cosworth Technology from Volkswagen Audi Group (no relation to Cosworth - the race engine business)about three years ago. Mclaren then asked Ricardo to take over the project earlier this year.


I think the Brawn bit should stay as part of the team name Mercedes Brawn for example.

What Brawn have done in winning the Constructors and Drivers championships in the debut season is something unique so the Brawn name already has pedigree.


Sorry I don't think the titles were anything unique or even particularly special. Well deserved and hard fought, yes 100%.

I don't recognize BrawnGP as a new team. They are a well funded/resourced outfit previously known as HONDA.

The hard work culminating in the double championships had already been logged last season under HONDA.


Hi James,

Great post as always, keep sniffing out the hot stories!!

I am interested to get your thoughts on who you feel would have the upper hand if Brawn (or whatever they will be called next year) end up going with a Button/Rosberg combination as seems to be the rumour...

Have you had any feedback from anyone who has worked directly with both drivers (obviously JB used to drive for Williams but admittedly a long time ago and no doubt he has improved immensely over that time).

What advantage would you feel Button would have as the incumbent driver and is Rosberg capable of doing a similar job on Button as Hamilton did on Alonso in 2007??

Similarly, how do you think the Alonso/Massa struggle will pan out next year??



I plan to do a proper analysis of this over the long winter months, but taking a snapshot view I would say Button and Rosberg will be finely balanced, both are capable of beating the other. Massa and Alonso will be pretty intense and although one would expect Alonso to come out on top in the long run, it might not be plain sailing and will depend upon him accepting that Massa will beat him at some venues. Much will depend on whether Massa is able to continue improving as he was prior to the accident.


I can't help but feel that Brawn are going to slip back without Rubens' input on set-up.

James, if Rubens had been German, do you think it would have been a no brainer to keep the status quo, or did he wee on his own chips with his mid-season outburst?


So we could be seeing a team with "Arrows" in the name, sponsored by Orange and also a gambling company? Remind me, what year is this again 🙂


does no-one find it a bit strange that mercedes will be taking over what is essentially still the honda team, just with another engine? they will be building on the success that honda painstakingly stitched into the team just before they pulled out.


Sometimes in Jun this year Button and Hamitlon visited Mercedes in Brixworth where the engines are made. Was that a coincidence or McLarren and Brawn where already fighting to win Mercedes?

Did Ross Brawn approach Mercedes? I think McLarren has learned its lesson about helping 🙁


James in your opinion how would Mercedes splitting with Mclaren affect McLaren. For the last 10 years we have watched Mclaren Merc rival Ferrari F1 in all aspects, including facilities and finance/turnover.

Do you feel that McLaren could maintain such a high level of performance, security and financial results as an independant (regardless of what engine is in the car)?


Williams couldn't and although Ron organized McLaren much better for changes, I doubt it will be easy if possible at all.


James, how do you view the news that Ross has stated that Jenson's wage demand of £m8 will not be met, but he can seek sponsorship?


Sounds like the difference between driving for Brawn and for McLaren. With McLaren you serve their sponsors and are not allowed any of your own but you get paid more as a result. That's one of the reasons Michael Schumacher never went there



I am sure I read somewhere than McLaren have made an exception for Lewis. Doesn't he have those agreemennts with Reebok and Pepsi. The only condition is that they have right of veto.

This policy could actually become a thorn in negotiations if Lewis wins a couple more championships and becomes a truly global superstar.

By the way, do Ferrari have any long term designs on Lewis or he on them?



I seem to remember that this was one of the major sticking points when Nigel Mansell went to McLaren.

Mansell wanted to keep on his own personal sponsors, but Ron Dennis was refusing point blank. I seem to remember it being reported that Mansell had come out with the line "But you always let Ayrton have his". This, coming only about 6 months after Senna's death went down like a lead balloon.


An exception in terms of activities away from racing, but he is not allowed to bring them into the F1/McLaren arena - it's because of Ron Dennis' unhappiness with Ayrton Senna's Nacional bank deal, which was plastered across his overalls and cap.


I think the only exception was Ayrton Senna, who had his branding from "Nacional". And RD would even tolerate that the uniform of his two drivers looked different!


mmmm, I don't see how mercedes owns any IP on running silver cars. The silver/chrome branding is now synonymous with mclaren and they would be mad to give that up. It articulates everything that the company is about.

Mclaren could go retro with a red and white vodaphone scheme. Add to that a shiny yellow helmet peeking out of the cockpit and they would have some very iconic imagery going on.


...McLaren should paint their F1 cars in that lovely signature metallic orange of theirs.

Paige Michael-Shetley

I'm very surprised that Mercedes would elect to go the route of taking over a team. The history of F1 has shown that manufacturers, with the exception of Ferrari, have been much more successful in F1 as works engine suppliers than as team entries. The records of Honda and BMW are much better as engine partners than as full teams. Renault has had a lot of success as a team, but they've had even more as an engine partner.

The partnership of Mercedes with McLaren has been an extraordinary success that's netted three WDCs, a WCC, and a slew of victories and podiums. In my view, they would be very foolish to walk away from such a situation in which they can lay claim to the glory of a top team while their costs are limited to one area on the car.

From another perspective, it should be worrying for F1 that yet another manufacturer has decided to take over a team if this deal comes to fruition. BMW and Honda both decided to take over teams after having successful works partnerships with privateers, and now they're both gone from the sport. Toyota came in with their own team from scratch and are gone. Renault took over Benetton and are teetering on the edge of leaving. History has shown us that manufacturers stay in F1 longer as works engine partners than as team entries.

Stick to the engines, manufacturers!


The future looks bright for Brawn, if I was Jense I would want to be part of that success. As my gran always said, 'there's no pockets in shrouds.'


I've been clearing cache and cookies like there's no tomorrow - still periodically doesn't work 🙁 This problem appeared the same time Wp touch was installed... Please can you remove it James?


It is most likely DNS issues. From home I couldn't see updates for a week and I'm on BT. At University, I had no problems.


We upgraded to the latest WP a few weeks back and some things haven't settled down since. We are working on it. I use Safari and I've not had any problems when I have done random checks etc.


Hi James, I'm not adding this to complain, just in the hope that additional info might help the techies get to the bottom of the problem.

I'm a Safari user and it rarely shows me the latest story when I come to the page. Today the latest story on display was "Alonso Gets Down To Work At Ferrari" (but it's a different one every day). Despite resetting Safari several times it made no difference until mid-afternoon (so I don't know if there were any technical updates or changes overnight/during today?).

Whatever the problem is, it's somewhat random - but it's certainly persistent and it's now the norm that I can't see the latest updates, not the exception.

Like I said, not a complaint as such - yours is probably the only site I'd be this patient with. But it's definitely affecting Safari users as well as Windows based browsers.

If your techies need any specifics tracking at the user-end then just shout - I'm sure many of us would be willing to help.


Thanks, we are working on it.


Hello, James!

I can't follow your new entries since the story about Alonso visiting Maranello. I really enjoy reading your blog and don't want to lose it. I hope the situation will improve soon.

I too think that Brown's name must remain in the team's title.


Well how did you reply to this, if you can't follow the stories?


I entered from Twitter, not directly from the site.


James Allen - F1 Journalist and IT Support Technician 🙂


Excellent insight into the McLaren - Mercedes situation. I do not doubt that McLaren will run a Mercedes engine for a few years more as it is unlikely they can source one from anywhere else. Renault might not be around and Ferrari would be impossible. They should take their time with their own engine especially with the rules governing powertrains likely to change. The last time a privateer team tried building its own engine was the Arrows/Hart effort which did not work particularly well. That said what is the difference between a customer engine deal and a manufacturer engine deal anyway? Are the engines identical? Would McLaren be disadvantaged to Brawn in any way by switching their Mercedes relationship to a customer one?

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