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GP Week : Issue 68
ts legal MERCEDES' 75 percent stake of the BrawnGP team in 2010 is set to be made through the German manufacturer's UAE part- owners Aabar. Aabar Investments PJSC, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, bought a 9.1 percent stake in Mercedes parent- company Daimler-Benz back in July, and it is being heavily suggested that it will be Aabar which makes the Brawn investment next season. The reason for this is believed to be rest in an exclusivity contract between McLaren and Mercedes which prevents Mercedes partnering another F1 team until 2012. This would see Aadar holding the 75 percent stake in Brawn for the next three seasons, until Mercedes is able to come onboard in its own right at the end of its exclusive McLaren deal. Aabar is one of the Middle East's most active investment companies and has been left relatively untouched by the recent global financial meltdown. It recently acquired a large stake in Banco Santander's Brazilian arm and, ironically, a 32 percent stake in Virgin Galactic whose decals have appeared on the side of the Brawn in 2009. It is not believed that Aabar's involvement in the Mercedes/Brawn deal will include Virgin's continued sponsorship of the team, as Virgin is widely known to have done a deal to rebrand the new Manor team as Virgin F1 after it took at 20 percent stake in the outfit. Brawn/Mercedes deal via UAE ROBERT Kubica has cast doubts over the Renault F1 future of Romain Grosjean, after telling the press at the Brazilian Grand Prix that the team was looking for an experienced F1 driver to partner him at the French squad in 2010. "I think there are a few names who are quite experienced that Renault is looking at for next year," he said on Thursday. "I will not try to have any influence on my team-mate for next year. To be honest, I will welcome all these drivers whose names I have heard. Ithinkallofthemcandoa good job. I have my personal preferences but this is only because of private personal relationships, but, as I said, I will not have any influence and I will leave it to the people who are deciding." Timo Glock has been mentioned in connection with the seat, as has former Renault driver Heikki Kovalainen, both of whom are on the open market although with the vast majority of F1 drivers negotiating for new seats in 2010 the options available to Renault are vast. Even Mark Webber has been touted as a possible Renault driver next season. While Grosjean's French passport may stand him in good stead, he is yet to shine in his Formula 1 career. He is also seen as a product of the Briatore age, in spite of his long association with the Renault brand. Grosjean too green? F1 NEWS >> 7