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Speculation surrounds Mercedes

NEWS STORY
08/05/2012

Despite securing its first Grand Prix win of the modern era in China, speculation has mounted in recent days over the future of Mercedes in Formula One.

Originating from The Times, it is alleged that the German marque could walk away from the sport if it is not offered a spot on Formula One's board should it be floated on the Singapore stock exchange. Rivals Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari have all been offered such positions though there are question marks over just who will represent McLaren.

As far as Mercedes withdrawing from the sport the team's Competition Vice-President Norbert Haug has dismissed the notion, claiming there is "no truth" in the reports. It's a position backed up by a team spokesman, who told Sky Sports the team was "in discussions with the commercial rights holder." It goes without saying that the company would not be drawn on any details surrounding those discussions.

The rumours however have not gone away. It's been alleged Mercedes has already investigated withdrawing while before the season started Pitpass was told that the German company could pull out of the sport should it not win a race in 2012.

The team has been recruiting in recent times, swelling staff numbers to over 500 with more still involved in the company's engine programme. It is unclear if that programme would be affected should the company elect to cease its involvement in the sport, and how that in turn would impact its customers. Mercedes currently supplies engines to McLaren and Force India as well as the factory team. If it were to cease all Formula One activities it would leave the sport faced with just three engines suppliers, though Craig Pollock's PURE project is scheduled to be available from 2014 when engine regulations change.

Together with Aabar, Mercedes acquired the team in 2009, paying an estimated $195million to its former owners, which included Ross Brawn. According to Formula Money the parent company has since invested $165million in 2010 alone. Leaving the sport would likely result in significant losses unless a new buyer can be found for the team in short order.

Given the upturn in the team's fortunes it is a prime opportunity to put the team up for sale, however given the marque is in the sport for the brand exposure its probably enjoying its time in the sun. It won't however be enjoying the current speculation which seems only to unsettle negotiations with Bernie Ecclestone and CVC as they discuss the commercial landscape of the sports future, both long term and short.

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