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Mercedes and McLaren to be F1 'rivals' - Zetsche
(GMM)  Mercedes' step away from McLaren was a "friendly" transaction, but they will be "rivals" in 2010 and beyond.

It was announced on Monday that the McLaren Group will have bought back Daimler's 40 per cent stake by 2011, with Mercedes to control the majority of Brawn and rename it Mercedes GP.

Brawn's new structure will be 45.1pc ownership by Daimler AG, 30pc ownership by Daimler shareholder Aabar, an Abu Dhabi government investment vehicle, and the remaining 24.1pc staying in the hands of Brawn's existing owners.

Ross Brawn and other senior management of the Brackley based team are staying in place, but Mercedes competition chief Norbert Haug is switching from the McLaren garage.

Referring to McLaren, Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche said: "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."

For the first time since their partnership began in 1995, McLaren will be paying for its Mercedes engines in 2010 and beyond, although the silver in its car livery will be retained for now.

Mercedes GP, meanwhile, issued a photo-shopped image of a 2009 Brawn car featuring an all silver and black livery and the three-pointed star logo.

Zetsche admitted that the relationship between Mercedes and McLaren was affected by the Woking based outfit's independent move into sports car manufacturing.

"That was not the interests of Daimler and Mercedes-Benz," he said.

On the driver front, with German Nico Rosberg expected to be confirmed for one Mercedes GP seat, Haug said he hopes an announcement on the full 2010 lineup can be made within the coming days.

New world champion Jenson Button is linked with both Mercedes GP and McLaren.

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