Jan.12 (GMM) Norbert Haug has hit back at internal criticism about the decision to ramp up Mercedes-Benz’s formula one foray.
While fellow carmakers including Honda, BMW and Toyota have pulled out completely, and Renault scales back its involvement, Daimler-owned Mercedes opted instead to buy the Brawn team and then bring Michael Schumacher out of retirement.
After the Brawn buyout, a member of Daimler’s supervisory board and Corporate Works Council Erich Klemm said Mercedes had missed a “chance to completely leave the costly and controversial circus (F1)”.
Then, after Schumacher was signed for 2010 for EUR7 million, another supervisory board member Uwe Werner said the decision was “hard to justify” amid the automobile world’s current crisis.
But Mercedes’ competition boss Haug told the SID news agency: “Both statements do not take into account that with its own team, Daimler will next year be spending about 60 per cent less compared to the peak in 2005.
“With our new approach, within five years our costs have more than halved,” the German reiterated.
Haug also revealed that, unlike at McLaren where Mercedes contributed half of the cost of driver salaries, the marque is in fact not spending a cent on the retainers paid this season to Schumacher and teammate Nico Rosberg.
“In our formula one team, the drivers’ salary comes only from our sponsor partners and the commercial rights holder FOM, not from Mercedes-Benz,” he insisted.
Haug said Mercedes’ annual F1 budget is a two-digit million euro sum.