Ross Brawn's decision to rescue the ailing Honda F1 team and rebrand it eponymously has yielded more than just 2009's world championship double, business analysts have revealed.
The Briton acted to preserve jobs at the Brackley base where BAR and Honda had made their home while in F1 and, even though Jenson Button's improbable title success will remain among the highpoints of his professional career, Brawn will no doubt look back on the decision with a wry smile after reportedly pocketing around £100m from the sale of the team to Daimler and Aabar Investments last week.
F1 business analysts Christian Sylt and Caroline Reid confirmed that the deal, which sees the now Mercedes GP team move entirely into the hands of Daimler and Abu Dhabi-based Aabar, provides a major return on the nominal £1 Brawn paid for the former Honda team in a management buyout in 2009. The remaining 24.9 per cent of the team changed hands last week for around £45m, completing a takeover which had begun with the purchase of an initial 75.1 per cent stake in November 2009.
Although the acquisition is conditional on clearance from the German Bundeskartellamt, it is seen as a clear signal concerning the long-term ambitions being held for Daimler's premium brand in F1. After Brawn GP's double championship in 2009, last season was seen as something of an anti-climax for Mercedes, with Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher combining for just three podium finishes and fourth in the constructors' championship, but the team is already talking of better things with its second car, having had longer to work on the design and development programme.
That said, however, the team is hoping to discover the reasons for a reported two-second gap between its WO2 and the winter pacesetters when F1 testing resumes - and concludes - in Barcelona this week [see story here