Daimler Sells One F1 Team, Then Buys Another

John Horner
by John Horner

Yesterday Daimler announced that McLaren would be buying out Daimler’s interest in their joint venture Formula 1 team. Many, including board member Erich Klemm, thought this made all kinds of sense. “In the (car) factories, every cent is being turned over three times. The employees are feeling the financial crisis with shorter working hours and loss of income,” he continued. “In these economically difficult times, the company should invest in better marketing of its real cars.” My, what a novel idea!

But Klemm is on the board as a representative of the workers. As such, his view caries little weight with the blue blood leaders of the pack. With the McLaren venture out of the way, Daimler is now teaming up with the petro dollar rich Abu Dhabi investment fund to buy out champions Brawn GP. Matthew Curtin over at the Wall Street Journal thinks Daimler is pulling a brilliant maneuver:

Daimler might have got its timing just right. F1 suddenly has become cheap. A fight among manufacturers and the sport’s governing body, the FIA, on how to reduce F1 running costs has led to an agreement to cap spiraling budgets. One example: the limit of 16 engines per team of two drivers. In the past, teams would build as many as 100 a year. Those controls could reduce the cost for a stand-alone Mercedes team to €60 million ($89.8 million) in 2011 from the €240 million it would have spent two years ago. At that price, F1 becomes a competitive marketing strategy given an international television audience running into hundreds of millions a year.

Are people really going to be attracted to a Mercedes-Benz because they saw something with a three pointed star parading around the track on TV? Somehow I think this is more about perks for Daimler executives than it is about moving the metal. Matthew Curtin may already be salivating over his expected all access pass to the Daimler-Brawn hospitality tent.

John Horner
John Horner

More by John Horner

Join the conversation
3 of 10 comments
  • 3-On-The-Tree Lou_BCsame here I grew up on 2-stroke dirt bikes had a 1985 Yamaha IT200 2-strokes then a 1977 Suzuki GT750 2-stroke 750 streetike fast forward to 2002 as a young flight school Lieutenant I bought a 2002 suzuki Hayabusa 1300 up in Huntsville Alabama. Still have that bike.
  • Milton Rented one for about a month. Very solid EV. Not as fun as my Polestar, but for a go to family car, solid. Practical EV ownership is only made possible with a home charger.
  • J Love mine, but the steering wheel blocks dashboard a bit, can't see turn signals nor headlights icons. They could use the upper corners of the screen for the turn signals. Mileage is much lower than shown too, disappointing
  • Aja8888 NO!
  • OrpheusSail I once did. My first four cars were American made, and through an odd set of circumstances surrounding a divorce, I wound up with a '95 Nissan Maxima which was fourteen years old and had about 150,000 miles on it.It was drove better, had an amazing engine, and was more reliable than any of my American cars. This included a new '95 GMC pickup that went through five alternators in under two years while the dealership insisted that there was no underlying electrical problem while they tried to run the clock on the warranty.That was the end of 'buy American'. I've bought from Honda and VW since, and I'll consider just about anything except American now.