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Prost Advises Button to Go to Williams
Mercedes Buy a Stake in McLaren
New Ferrari Engine Introduced
BAR Consider Move to Japan
Mercedes To Buy Rest of Brawn Shares
2000: At a press conference in this year four time F1 WC and Prost GP owner Alain Prost said that he had advised Jensen Button to join the Williams BMW team for the current season. Button had tested the Prost GP car in 1999 and had been expected to join the Prost Junior Team in 2000.
Button who won the Williams drive after the departure of Alex Zanardi became the youngest ever British F1 driver. Prost noted that he actually held an option on Button for the 2000 season but released him from the obligation when the Williams drive arose. It was advice that would prove to be crucial in Button’s career as the Prost GP team would collapse in 2002 under a mountain of debt.
2000: Mercedes announced this year that they were buying 40% of McLaren. Mercedes said they were delighted to be able to purchase the shares, noting that McLaren had been using Mercedes F1 engines since 1995, which powered Mika Häkkinen to two WC’s.
The two companies’s also announced plans to build a series of sports cars, which in 2003 produced the McLaren Mercedes SLR. With Mercedes purchase of the Brawn team it has subsequently sold most of the shares back to McLaren intending to reduce their holdings to zero.
2001: Paolo Martinelli, Ferrari’s head of F1 engine design, announced that for the 2001 season Ferrari would be using the new Tipo 050 engine. The 90° V-10 was lighter and 30 BHP more powerful than the previous Tipo 049. The engine was used in the F2001 car and propelled Michael Schumacher to eight victories and the drivers WC, and Ferrari to the constructors WC.
2005: Dave Richards, the head of the BAR F1 team, threatened in 2004 to move the team from the UK to Japan unless UK F1 teams were exempted from the UK tobacco ad ban that was to begin in July 2005.
The ad ban was unique in that teams based in the UK would be prohibited from carrying tobacco sponsorship anywhere in the world while teams not based in the UK could continue carrying tobacco sponsorship while not in an EU country. There was also concern that TV stations would also be prohibited from showing races from outside the UK that showed cars carrying tobacco sponsorship.
2011: Mercedes announced in 2011 their intent to buy the remaining 25% of the shares of the Mercedes F1 team held by team principal, Ross Brawn. Previously Mercedes had announced their intent to divest themselves of their holding in McLaren.