It wasn't long ago that Mercedes looked to be teetering on the verge of pulling out of F1, but now - having decided to stay in the sport - it seems they're prepared to back their renewed commitment with more money than ever before.
With Red Bull
rumoured to be spending up to 250 million euros on a season of F1 competition, and McLaren
and Lotus both said to be spending around 200 million, Mercedes' current estimated budget of around 150 million euros has been one of the reasons why the team hasn't been able to capitalise on Nico Rosberg's breakthrough win at the start of the season.
The team's rivals on pit road have remained consistently wary of the threat from Mercedes, especially with someone of Ross Brawn's technical talent at the helm. But that threat has once again failed to materialise as the season has gone on, with Mercedes slipping backwards as other teams have got the jump on them in the development battle.
"With Mercedes you have to expect more," was Sebastian Vettel's view of the team's current situation.
But with Niki Lauda now advising the board, German newspapers Bild
and Auto Motor Und Sport
is reporting that the case for increased funding for next year in support of Lewis Hamilton's arrival in the squad has been made and the team will have around 44 million euros in extra cash to spend next year to put them on an equal footing with their main rivals.
“Under new supervisory board boss Niki Lauda, the austerity measures are apparently ending,” reported Bild
. "[Daimler] has recognised that, otherwise, it cannot compete."
However, Mercedes' head of motorsport Norbert Haug has denied the 44 million euro figure, telling the press: "There will be no 30 per cent budget percent increase."
The German media reports suggest that the extra cash for the 2013 campaign is being found by trimming back Daimler's participation in DTM to six cars instead of the current eight.
Some of the increased budget will be funding Lewis Hamilton's estimated 18 million euro salary, as he takes over from multiple former world champion Michael Schumacher who has been frustrated by the team's lack of resources since his comeback to the sport with Mercedes, and who will retire for good at the end of the current season.