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Why Hamilton's 2008 title win is not a 'true Silver Arrows' success story for Mercedes

Why Hamilton's 2008 title win is not a 'true Silver Arrows' success story for Mercedes

F1 News

Why Hamilton's 2008 title win is not a 'true Silver Arrows' success story for Mercedes

Why Hamilton's 2008 title win is not a 'true Silver Arrows' success story for Mercedes

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has labelled the 1995-2014 engine partnership with McLaren as an "important pillar" of the German manufacturer's Formula 1 story but says the "true Silver Arrows" did not return until 2010.

McLaren and Mercedes joined forces in 1995 and enjoyed a successful relationship that yielded one constructors' title and three drivers' crowns - two for Mika Hakkinen and one for Lewis Hamilton.

In 2000, Daimler purchased a 40 per cent stake in McLaren with the ambition of building sports cars together.

McLaren had earlier adopted a predominantly silver livery for the 1997 season, a trend that would continue until the relationship with Mercedes ended in 2014.

A recent behind-the-scenes reshuffle has resulted in the Mercedes F1 team being split equally between three parties - Wolff, INEOS CEO Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Mercedes parent company Daimler.

The reorganisation means Daimler now owns less of its own F1 team than it did previously when allied with McLaren.

When announcing Hamilton's recent signing of his new one-year contract, the accompanying team statement declared proudly the Briton had taken six titles with the Silver Arrows, discounting his 2008 success with McLaren.

Asked if Mercedes was attempting to rewrite history, Wolff said: "McLaren, back in the day, was a very important pillar of Mercedes’ story in Formula 1, no doubt about that.

“But in the driver's seat it was Ron Dennis that shaped this team, no doubt about that, and when Daimler decided to buy a team [Brawn GP] in 2009 it was the rebirth of the true Silver Arrows that we last saw in the '50s and nothing has changed that from the perspective of the Mercedes works team.

“This is going to be 'Team Mercedes', AMG Petronas, partners that have been with us for a long time, with INEOS and other brands that have joined us being part of our future.

“The previous shareholding was 100 per cent Daimler and then it was 60 per cent Daimler and the Abu Dhabi partner. Then it was 60 per cent Daimler and 40 per cent between Niki [Lauda] and myself.

"Now we have decided that going forward team franchise values are interesting to a lot of guys and that is why we have this new structure of a third each.

“I have invested in the team and increased my shareholding from 30 to 33 per cent. Jim Ratcliffe, probably one of the most visionary and financially astute investors, with his colleagues, has decided that Formula 1 team franchises are going to increase in value. For Daimler, owning 100 per cent of HPP, it was a good deal and an interesting transaction."

Wolff, who claims it is the name above the door that matters, has explained the team will remain Mercedes regardless of any future shareholding change.

"Going forward it is the three of us," added Wolff. "I don't think we are going to change that in the long-term.

"The team is called Mercedes and we have the commitment that it will be 'Team Mercedes'. Even if you change the shareholding behind it, only the insiders will know that there is a different shareholding. But going long-term it is 'Team Mercedes'.”


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