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Daimler AG and Abu Dhabi-based Aabar Investments PJS complete full acquisition of Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

28.1.2011 / Cairo - Abu Dhabi – Stuttgart /

Motorsport in general and Formula in specific are becoming more and more important for Middle East companies and investors. After building racing circuits in Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Abu Dhabi we see a lot of Gulf-based companies getting involved in the Formula 1 teams themselves.

In that regard, Daimler AG today (28.1.2011) announced that, together with UAE-based Aabar Investment PJS, it has acquired the remaining 24.9 per cent stake in Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd located in Brackley, UK from the management team led by Team Principal Ross Brawn.

Daimler and Aabar together now own 100 per cent of Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix. Daimler has increased its stake from 45.1 per cent to 60 per cent, while Aabar has increased its stake from 30 to 40 per cent.

Aabar is the biggest single shareholder of Daimler AG, with nine per cent. The acquisition is conditional on clearance from the German Bundeskartellamt.

On 16 November 2009, Daimler AG acquired a 45.1 per cent stake in Brawn GP, the 2009 world champion team, and together with Aabar held a majority stake of 75.1 per cent.

The acquisition by Daimler AG of a majority shareholding in the Formula 1 team sends a clear signal concerning the long-term ambitions for the company's premium brand in Formula 1.

"This majority stake holding demonstrates our determination to build a long-term Formula 1 involvement on an even more successful platform," explained Dr. Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. "Our company's founders invented the automobile 125 years ago and the very first Mercedes was a racing car. These are the reasons why we see our Formula 1 programme as an important element of our brand history. The acquisition of a majority stake holding in our Silver Arrows team sends a clear signal that we intend to achieve technical and sporting success on world motorsport's biggest and most important stage - and to do so in cost-effective conditions."

His Excellency Khadem Al Qubaisi, Chairman of Aabar Investments PJS continued: "Aabar's and Daimler's joint investment in Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix is a further testament to our strong commitment to the sport of Formula 1 and to Aabar's strategic partnership with Daimler. As Abu Dhabi is increasingly placing itself as a recognised host of international sporting events, and particularly in light of the continuing success of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Aabar is proud to be supporting one of the most successful Formula 1 racing teams in the field. Aabar wishes Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix a successful start to the 2011 season."

Dr. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Group Research and Development Mercedes-Benz Cars, and Chairman of the Board of Mercedes Grand Prix Ltd., added: "Our acquisition of the remaining 24.9 per cent together with our partner Aabar underlines our long-term commitment to Formula 1, the pinnacle of motor racing and the best international motorsport platform for demonstrating our willingness to compete and our technical expertise. This step will bring the colleagues from our Formula 1 chassis and engine groups even closer together and thereby help to develop our team step-by-step into a winning Formula 1 outfit. We now also fulfill Ross' wish of being in a position to focus wholly on the complex technical challenges of Formula 1 and on his role as our team principal."

Ross Brawn, Team Principal of Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix commented: "Daimler and Aabar's acquisition of the remaining 24.9 per cent stake in Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix will be a further step in the consolidation and strengthening of our team for the future. Motor racing, particularly Formula 1, is a very specialised industry, and we are privileged to have such strong and understanding partners as Daimler and Aabar to support our joint ambitions. I remain fully committed to our team for the long-term, along with the management team and all of our employees. We all look forward to the challenge of making our team successful, and proudly representing Mercedes-Benz and the racing tradition of the Silver Arrows."

Norbert Haug, Vice President of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport stated: "It is a logical step to acquire the remaining 24.9 percent of Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix together with our partner Aabar. Daimler and Aabar will be joint owners, in the ratio of 60/40, of our Formula 1 company and Silver Arrows works team. This lays the foundations for a successful long-term involvement at the pinnacle of motorsport.’’

So, what does such an involvement mean for the motor-sport in the Motorsport? Well, although none of the five gentlemen talked about it, this could mean that the chances of having a UAE or Arab driver in the Formula 1 over the next 5-10 years, has increased slightly.

Let us hope for the best and wish the team good luck for the next season.


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