Bernie Ecclestone has claimed that Mercedes should have bought McLaren to form the basis of its 'works' Formula One team, but admits that it could have done worse the eventually acquiring the Brawn GP team.
The sport's commercial supremo suggested that the German giant should perhaps have made a more concerted effort to prise McLaren from the hands of Ron Dennis during their lengthy tenure as technical collaborators, but accepts that the route the Three Pointed Star eventually followed was as good a way as any of establishing its own team in the top flight.
"To be honest, it was always my opinion that Mercedes should have taken over McLaren years ago," Ecclestone told the official F1 website, "So what they've done now is absolutely sound. Now it's theirs to call the shots."
Mercedes' vice-president of motorsport, Norbert Haug, who shared the interview with Ecclestone, admitted that getting involved with Brawn had had 'positive financial aspects' too.
"Because Brawn GP won the championship last season, we get substantial funding from the rights holder, and we have partnered with great sponsors," he said of the rebranded Mercedes GP Petronas team, "These two aspects are funding the team and not Mercedes.
"We contribute with the engine and a small group of people in key areas - and that's it. It's a very efficient system, and I am sure Bernie would agree when I say that how we've done it could be a role model for when other manufacturers join F1.
"Of course, our board members are racers, but they only gave the nod because we can promote our products on the most important motorsport platform in the world - and demonstrate our willingness to compete, which has been part of the Mercedes spirit since the beginning - the first Mercedes car was a racing car."
Agreeing that F1 'is by far the best platform for a manufacturer', Ecclestone expressed the belief that Honda, BMW and Toyota only withdrew because they could not achieve the level of success of certain rivals - the brands, Haug points out, that are still involved.
"Those who have been successful and have won titles are still part of F1 - Ferrari, Renault and Mercedes," the German noted, "I can only say that our investment in the purchase of Brawn GP paid off. No other team had more exposure over the winter than the rebirth of the real Silver Arrows."
"Let's be serious, manufacturers are all there for different reasons," Ecclestone concluded, "Mercedes are racers, they've been racing for a 100 years. They've always been there [but] the other people come and go. BMW came with us when I had Brabham - we won the world championship with them - and they left. Toyota have been more or less rally people in the past and turned to F1. I probably shouldn't say what I'm going to say, but I think the team was mismanaged, and my guess is that, if they had been managed properly, they would still be with us...."