The new Mercedes Grand Prix team is set to miss out on a sponsorship windfall after the German consumer products group Henkel insisted that a deal apparently agreed with Brawn GP is invalid.
The company insists that a deal signed with Brawn – worth up to 30 million Euros a year over three years – was signed by a former employee without authorisation.
It has now filed suit against Brawn GP over the 'deal' in an attempt to show that it has no obligations to the sponsorship agreement.
The Financial Times
reports that Henkel had informed Daimler of the alleged wrongdoing by its former employee prior to the German manufacturer completing its buyout of Brawn GP, although Daimler itself is believed to have had 'no reason to believe that the contract is not valid'.
The legal dispute comes at a time when Daimler is at the centre of one of the big stories of the F1 off-season with its continued links to Michael Schumacher.