F1: Michael Schumacher Officially Signs With Mercedes GP

Posted on 12.23.09 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

Today rumors became official news when it was formally announced that seven time F1 world champion Michael Schumacher has signed a one-year deal with Mercedes GP (formerly Brawn GP) for the 2010 season along side fellow German driver Nico Rosberg.  This comes hot on the heels of the announcement that Petronas snubbed the new Lotus team to become the title sponsor of Mercedes GP.  It looks like they knew something we didn’t!  It looks like the debate of how the young guns would fare against the legendary Schumacher and vice versa will finally be settled in the new year.  Check out Mike’s BBC interview and the official team press release below.

Press Release:

The MERCEDES GP PETRONAS Formula One Team can confirm today that seven-times Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher will make his racing return in 2010 with the Silver Arrows team.

With seven Drivers’ World Championships, 248 Grand Prix starts, 91 victories, 154 podium finishes and 68 pole positions, the 40-year old German needs no introduction following an illustrious and record-breaking Formula One career from 1991 to 2006 at the Jordan, Benetton and Ferrari teams.

Michael’s return to racing with MERCEDES GP PETRONAS sees his return to Mercedes-Benz Motorsport where he began his racing apprenticeship as part of the Junior Programme in 1990, racing in Group C sports cars and DTM, and sees Michael renew his partnership with Ross Brawn with whom he won all seven of his World Championships.

Today’s announcement confirms the MERCEDES GP PETRONAS driver line-up for the 2010 season with Michael partnering his compatriot, 24 year old Nico Rosberg, in the Silver Arrows cars.

Michael Schumacher: “MERCEDES GP PETRONAS represents a new challenge for me both in a sporting and a personal context. It is a new chapter in my racing career and I am really looking forward to working with my old friend Ross Brawn and my companions from my days with the Mercedes Junior Programme. I am convinced that together we will be involved in the fight for the Formula 1 World Championship next year and I am already looking forward to getting back onto the race track. For me, this partnership closes the circle. Mercedes supported me for so many years when I began my Formula 1 career and now I can hopefully give something back to the brand with the star.”

Nico Rosberg: “It is fantastic that Michael is returning to Formula One and will be my team-mate at MERCEDES GP PETRONAS. It’s a great challenge for me to be up against one of the best drivers of all time. I’m sure that we will form a very strong partnership as he will have lost none of his speed! It is also great news for our sport and the fans.”

Ross Brawn, Team Principal of MERCEDES GP PETRONAS: “I am delighted that we can confirm today that Michael will make his much-anticipated return to Formula One next year and drive for our MERCEDES GP PETRONAS team. As seven-time World Champion, Michael’s outstanding record in Formula One speaks for itself and I am looking forward to working with him again. With the completion of our driver line-up, I believe that we now have the most exciting partnership in Formula One with Michael and Nico, who provide the perfect mix of talent, experience, speed and youth. We can now turn our full attention to the preparations for the new season and everyone at MERCEDES GP PETRONAS is extremely excited about the challenge ahead. With the investment and support in our team provided by Daimler, Aabar and our new title partner Petronas, and with two such exciting drivers, we have all of the building blocks in place to have another successful season in 2010.”

Norbert Haug, Vice-President of Mercedes-Benz Motorsports: “In April 1991, when I had been in charge of the Mercedes-Benz Motorsport programme for just six months, Michael was standing beside me on the balcony one evening. Without the slightest doubt, he said in a low voice: “It’s about time that I got into Formula 1″. Michael had just turned 22 years of age and four months later, he made his debut at Spa in a Jordan. Mercedes-Benz helped him to this point and the rest is history: seven World Championship titles, more than any racing driver, 91 Grand Prix wins, more than any racing driver. Michael has more of everything than every other driver. As part of the Mercedes Junior Programme, Michael had raced in Group C sports cars and competed in a few DTM races. Ross Brawn, then our opponent at Jaguar, quickly realised Michael’s talent and they went on to win all seven of his Drivers’ World Championship titles together at Benetton and Ferrari. Our sporting ambition has always been that Michael should drive again where his professional career had started and Michael knew that. We often joked about it after the races and discussed the prospect seriously several times during the last 14 years in Formula 1. It didn’t happen in 1995, it didn’t happen in 1998 and it didn’t happen in 2005. I am delighted that it will now happen in 2010. I am very much looking forward to working with Michael and everybody at Mercedes-Benz and Daimler extends a very warm welcome to our ‘apprentice’ of 19 years ago. That apprentice is now the most successful racing driver of all time.”

 

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F1: Nico Rosberg Confirmed To Race For Mercedes Grand Prix In 2010

Posted on 11.24.09 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

It looks like McLaren started a trend by building an English all star team with Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.  Now it seems like the newly dubbed Mercedes Grand Prix (formerly Brawn GP) wants to build a German “powerhaus” themselves.  They recently confirmed that Nico Rosberg will drive for them in 2010 (while Rubens Barrichello goes to Williams) and there are strong rumors that the living legend Michael Schumacher may come out of retirement and drive for the new Mercedes team as well.  This is getting really interesting really fast.  Stay tuned for updates on this story.

Press Release:

From the 2010 season, German driver Nico Rosberg will drive for the new Mercedes team in the Formula 1 World Championship, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport announced today.

Three years after his father Keke had won the Formula 1 World Championship, Nico Rosberg, 24, was born in Wiesbaden, Germany on 27 June 1985, inheriting his racing DNA from his father.

At the age of eight, Nico Rosberg began racing karts. From 1997 until 2000, he raced for the MBM team (the talent support programme of Mercedes-Benz McLaren); with this team, the two Formula 1 partnersencouraged young talents. Nico’s team-mate at that time was Lewis Hamilton, McLaren Mercedes driver since 2007 and 2008 Formula 1 World Champion. In 2000, Nico was runner-up in the Formula A European Championship. Two years later, he entered his first car races in Formula BMW ADAC and clinched the title in his debut year with nine victories out of 18 races. A Williams Formula 1 test drive was the reward for the championship win – at the age of 17, Nico was the youngest driver ever to get such an opportunity.

In 2003 and 2004, Nico Rosberg participated in the then new Formula 3 Euro Series; in his first year he came home second in the rookie rankings and in 2004 he finished fourth overall. One year later in 2005, he moved up to the GP2 series which is staged alongside Formula 1 events and won the title.

The 2006 season opener at Bahrain on 12 March was Nico’s first Formula 1 race; he finished seventh and posted the fastest lap. To date, he has taken part in 70 Grands Prix, all for the Williams team; scoring a total of 75.5 points and achieving second place at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix as his best Formula 1 result. The 2009 season was Nico’s best in Formula 1 so far; finishing seventh overall with 34.5 points.

Nico Rosberg grew up in Germany, Monaco and at Ibiza; in addition to his mother tongue he is fluent in English, Italian and French.

Nico Rosberg: “I am really happy to be a part of the Silver Arrows re-launch in 2010 as a driver for Mercedes. No other brand in Formula 1 can look back on such a long and successful tradition in motor racing. I am very proud that I will now drive for the new Mercedes team and work with Ross Brawn. I am more motivated than ever and can hardly wait to start testing with the new Silver Arrow and for the first race of the new season at Bahrain on 14 March 2010.”

Ross Brawn, Team Principal: “We are delighted to welcome Nico Rosberg to our Mercedes team and are very much looking forward to working with him. Nico is a great talent, and with four years of experience in Formula 1, is a driver who will be able to make a valuable contribution to our team right from the outset. I had the pleasure of working with his father Keke during his Formula One career and it is great to see Nico following in his footsteps. 2009 was Nico’s best season in Formula 1 to date and we look forward to seeing his development continue with us at Mercedes next year.”

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: “I saw Nico
racing karts alongside Lewis Hamilton and later in the support programme of the DTM events – I have known him since he was a young boy. Early on it was obvious that he would make his way as a race driver and we are glad that after four years with Williams he will now be one of our drivers at Mercedes. It makes our re-start even nicer, that we have as talented and sympathetic a driver as Nico in our line-up. Nico has positive ambitions, we have positive ambitions and together we want to achieve a great deal. I am really looking forward to working with him.”

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F1: Jenson Button Joins Lewis Hamilton At McLaren

Posted on 11.18.09 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

News recently broke that Jenson Button will be leaving Brawn GP (Now known as Mercedes Grand Prix thanks to a large investment) and will join Lewis Hamilton at McLaren.  This marks the first time that two champions have been on the same team since…well, a long time ago!  It looks like even with all the money Jenson’s former team just received from Mercedes it wasn’t enough to keep the 2009 Champion driving for them.  Which also shows just how much money McLaren had all along since they had to buy a 40% team stake back from Mercedes yet still had enough to pay Mr. Button what he was asking for.  The British public is of course ecstatic about this move.  Two British champions on an all British team is a big deal for them but, its yet to be seen how the two will get along next year.

[Photo: guardian.co.uk]

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F1: Mercedes Buys Stake In Brawn GP Then Changes The Name

Posted on 11.17.09 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

As many have speculated it was officially announced that Mercedes has bought a stake in Brawn GP.  The 2009 Championship team will now be known as “Mercedes Grand Prix.”  Ross Brawn will still stay on as the team principal and it seems that Nico Rosberg is all but confirmed for one of the seats next season however not too much else is known about what their driver line up will be.  Also expect the cars to drop the white and yellow color scheme and go with the famous Mercedes silver.

Press Release:

Mercedes-Benz will enter the Formula 1 World Championship with its own team, beginning with the 2010 season, and Daimler AG and McLaren Group will change their form of cooperation with effect as of 13 November 2009. This was announced by Daimler AG today.

Daimler AG together with Aabar Investments PJSC will take over 75.1 per cent of the Brawn GP team, with Daimler taking 45.1 per cent and Aabar 30 per cent. The rest of the 24.9 per cent will remain with the current stakeholders. With 9.1 per cent, Aabar is the biggest single shareholder of Daimler AG. This transaction is subject to the approval of the EU and the Swiss cartel authorities.

The background to this decision are the new terms and conditions for Formula 1. The “Resource Restrictions” set by FOTA and FIA effectively limit expenditure for the design, construction and running of the racing cars. In addition, there will be a significantly higher income available for a Formula 1 team generated by the commercial rights of the racing series following the signing of the new Concorde Agreement.

The partnership between McLaren Mercedes has been in place since 1995 and endedits 15th joint Formula 1 season in 2009. The change to the form of cooperation is taking place by mutual agreement. Mercedes-Benz and McLaren will continue to co-operate with each other and the supply of engines could continue until 2015.

The McLaren Group have set themselves new targets, especially in the automotive sector, and Daimler understands and respects these new strategic objectives. For this reason, it has been agreed that the buy-back by the McLaren Group of the 40 per cent McLaren share owned by Daimler AG will be completed by 2011.

By taking this decision, Mercedes-Benz resumes its marvellous motor racing history on the 75th anniversary of the Silver Arrows, the world’s most unique racing cars. Mercedes wants to continue the tradition in the style of these flawless Silver Arrows, which put their stamp on each era by winning the majority of the races they competed in.

“Mercedes-Benz is the most valued and best-known premium automotive brand in the world. This brand looks for competition of the utmost quality in all relevant fields in order to continually improve its performance in the face of such new challenges”, explains Dr. Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.

“Due to the new Formula 1 environment, we will face the competition in future on the most important motor sports stage with our own Silver Arrow works team.

“Our new Silver Arrow Formula 1 team is a great sporting and technical challenge and we will tackle this with sporting spirit and full of enthusiasm.”

Mercedes-Benz will restructure their Formula 1 programme and work hard to achieve further savings, going beyond the already completed steps for significant cost reductions and improved efficiency.

Since 1995, the beginning of the partnership, McLaren and Mercedes-Benz have competed in 256 Grand Prix events and have achieved 60 victories. In 1998, 1999 and 2008, the British-German team won the drivers’ World Championships, as well as the World Constructors’ Championship in 1998. The McLaren Mercedes team became runner-up in the World Championships ten times, with five times in the drivers’ and constructors’ rankings respectively.

After winning the drivers’ title with Lewis Hamilton last year, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes finished third in the World Constructors’ Championships this year. The 2008 World Champion won two races with his current car, the MP4-24, achieving a first historic victory with the brake energy-recovery system, KERS Hybrid. No other driver scored more points in the last eight races from the season’s total of 17 races than Lewis Hamilton.

“I want to thank McLaren for a successful collaboration over the last decade and a half”, says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. “For the benefit of both Mercedes and McLaren, we will continue our partnership cooperation in future. We will be rivals on-track but, off-track, we will cooperate with McLaren and the other teams in order to create the best possible product for spectators worldwide.”

“We look back on 15 successful years of great collaboration with McLaren; in that time, we won four world-championship titles and finished ten times as runner-up in the drivers’ and constructors’ rankings,” states Norbert Haug, Vice-President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport. “Since the first victory in the 1997 Australian Grand Prix, the modern Silver Arrows have achieved a total of 60 victories in 223 races to ensure that our brand symbol, the star, stands for the greatest successes in Formula 1. We thank our partner and will continue to work with McLaren based on an excellent partnership.”

Mercedes Grand Prix, the management team of the former Brawn GP team, will continue to work under the leadership of Ross Brawn, who will continue in his well-known role. The Formula 1 team, as well as the engine team of Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines, will be co-ordinated by Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, headed by their Vice-President, Norbert Haug.

“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 Aabars offer to buy our team, which will secure its future”, Team Principal Ross Brawn looks back on a difficult beginning of the year which eventually turned into an extremely successful season.

“Both I and my fellow Directors at Brawn GP are incredibly proud of our staff, drivers and everyone associated with our team and thank them for their commitment, outstanding teamwork and their focus on achieving results in sometimes difficult circumstances. The senior management group will remain in place to lead our team and on behalf of everyone at Brawn GP, we are honoured to be representing such a prestigious brand as Mercedes-Benz in Formula One next year and will be working together to do our best to reward their faith in our team.”

The new Silver Arrow team, Mercedes Grand Prix, will compete in Formula 1 as a works team in its own right. Synergies between the 100 per cent Daimler-owned subsidiary Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines in Brixworth, UK, and the Mercedes Grand Prix team based about 28 miles from there in Brackley in the UK, will create even greater efficiency.

It is our target to develop a model for our Formula 1 activities which will initially be run with significantly reduced budgets by Mercedes-Benz and which, in the foreseeable future, will be self-financing”, comments Norbert Haug. “Furthermore, we naturally want to inspire our faithful spectators and TV viewers worldwide and maximize media coverage for our brand. With Formula 1, Mercedes-Benz can continue to clearly demonstrate its willingness to compete and win on the most important motor sports competition stage in the world.”

Khadem Al Qubaisi, Chairman, Aabar Investment PJSC comments: “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 ‘Silver Arrows’.

“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.

“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, with the genius of Ross Brawn, who is still deeply involved with the team, now backed by the unrivalled excellence of Mercedes-Benz across the entire spectrum of automotive technology. It is a fantastic prospect, which makes me both pleased and proud for my country.”

 

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Brawn GP BGP001 1:12 Scale Nose Cone

Posted on 09.14.09 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

It is starting to look like a safe bet that who ever wins the 2009 F1 World Championship will probably be wearing white black and yellow if you catch my drift.  So with only four races left now is probably you’re only chance to get some Brawn GP swag and be able to tell people “Hey I was fan BEFORE they were winning titles!”  A nice place to start would be this 1:12 scale nose cone from the F1 store.  If I was big and important and had a desk I would so have my business cards resting against this thing.  How fresh is this?!

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Formula 1: Jenson Button Takes Win At Spanish Grand Prix

Posted on 05.11.09 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

These F1 posts are starting to get predictable, no?  I wonder how hard Honda is kicking themselves right now for pulling out before giving Ross Brawn a shot hmm?  For the fourth time this season Jenson Button has found his way to the top of the podium while the former big dogs McLaren and Ferrari struggle just to stay in the points.  Heck, this time Lewis Hamilton didn’t even score a single point.  He fought loss of rear traction all race to a disappointing 9th place finish, one position shy of a points paying place.

Get the full gist of the race from the SPEED crew below.

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Ross Brawn Digs Endless

Posted on 05.04.09 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you know that “rookie” F1 team Brawn GP has been taking names (and wins) all season so far.  There are a lot of reasons for their success, one of them being their experience in setting up a good race car in all aspects, power, suspension, and braking system.  When it comes to that last part team principal Ross Brawn gives props to Endless and their RF-650 Brake Fluid.

Over the past five years, the team has developed a close working relationship with Endless and we have been very happy with the quality and performance of their brake fluid. We are pleased to be continuing our partnership this season.

Thats a direct quote from the man himself!  Its nice to see one of the brands that we know and love making a difference in a sport as pretegious as F1.  Fun Fact: RF-650 brake fluid is totally safe for street use!  That’s right you can put the same brake fluid in your car that Jenson Button has in his! Neat huh?

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F1: Jenson Button & Brawn GP Wins Australia Grand Prix

Posted on 03.30.09 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

Talk about your upsets!  A team that was created from the ashes of the recently deceased Honda F1 team rises up gains a sponsor in Virgin, dominates qualifying, and then sweeps their first race in a team 1-2 finish!  All of this while both Ferrari’s finished outside of the points!

If you’re lost let me attempt to catch you up a bit.  In Late 2008 Honda shocked the racing community by annoucing that they were going to pull out of F1 completely.  Naturally this shocked everyone and many were hoping for a big sponsor or someone to pull through to save the team. 

After months of rumors and heresay former Honda F1 Team Principal Ross Brawn along with a few other members of management and investors bought Honda’s F1 Team assets and formed the “Brawn GP” team.  They also announced that they would retain Jenson Button and Rubins Barrichello for their driver line up.  They also shook things up by stating that they wouldn’t become another Ferrari customer and instead chose to source their engines from Mercedes.

Fast forward to this past weekend and the little team that could dominates qualifying with Jenson Button taking the pole and his teammate Ruben qualifying 2nd right next to him.  Come race day the lights go out, Jenson rockets away to an early lead, and that was pretty much all she wrote.  Jenson and Ruben spanked the whole field and brought home a 1-2 victory for their team in its first ever race, a feat that was last accomplished in the 70s!

Check out the Speed Rountable for all the news bits I may have missed

Photo: Brawn GP

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