Merc staying with McLaren, not denying Brawn rumors

(GMM) Mercedes-Benz on Sunday reaffirmed its commitment to McLaren, but refused to deny strengthening speculation of a new formula one foray with the Brawn team.

The Stuttgart marque's entire board was at the Yas Marina Circuit this weekend, where it was believed stepping back from the McLaren partnership and moving closer to Brawn were discussed at length.

But McLaren, 40 per cent owned by Mercedes, have an exclusive contract with the luxury carmaker until 2011, and it seems that will not be dissolved.

"The only decision that is taken is that we are firm, here, partners and are connected for a long period of time," competition director Norbert Haug is quoted as saying by the Guardian.

The German would not discuss the speculation about Brawn, amid reports that a 75 per cent team stake will be held by an Abu Dhabi-based Daimler shareholder until the McLaren contract runs out.

"That these rumors are going around, fine," said Haug. "But my statement again is that we are 40 per cent shareholders so Mercedes is a large part of McLaren."

McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh welcomed Haug's comments and similarly did not deny the speculation about Brawn.

"A lot of the manufacturers are here almost reluctantly or leaving," he said.

"If you've got one that's hustling in, saying 'maybe we should look at other options, maybe we should do this or that' then that's a passion and enthusiasm for formula one that makes them such a strong partner," the Briton added.

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