Jul.18 (GMM) Mercedes-Benz is interested in buying the remainder of McLaren, team chief executive Martin Whitmarsh has admitted at Hockenheim.
On the verge of the German manufacturer's home race, Whitmarsh confirmed the constant speculation about McLaren's long-time partner wanting to up its share from the current 40 per cent.McLaren teamed up with the Stuttgart manufacturer in 1995, and Mercedes-Benz is now the only carmaker on the grid that does not own its team outright."It's an interesting issue and a dilemma that faces the shareholders of this business -- and to some extent the management," Whitmarsh told the International Herald Tribune newspaper."But I would be deeply disturbed if Mercedes had no real interest in acquiring us. I think it's a tangible demonstration of their commitment to this," he added.Whitmarsh said: "They have a lot of investments already sunk in their formula one endeavours, and the fact that they would like to acquire control is a healthy ambition."Norbert Haug, however - in charge of Mercedes' motor racing activities - tempered the situation by pointing out that equity is not everything."The question is how successful you are," said the German, who was also on the pitwall when McLaren-Mercedes won its last titles in 1998 and 1999.Haug added: "It's not a question of what percentage you own. It's a question of how many points you have on your account at the end of the year. And so far we have more points for less money -- for a car manufacturer."