Success more valuable after four-year struggle - Mercedes
Daimler boss Dieter Zetsche says Mercedes' success this year has been made sweeter by the four years of struggling the team went through since returning to the sport in 2010.
Mercedes bought Brawn at the end of 2009 to set up the first Mercedes factory team since 1955, but struggled for results in the first few years of being on the grid. The team focused its attention on this year's regulation changes, arguably to the detriment of its results in recent years, and is now dominating the sport with five wins in five races.
Zetsche says the recent success is even more valuable to the brand following the struggles of the previous years.
"Certainly there was quite some pain when the development went into the wrong direction, as far as results at the end of the season are concerned and I do not want to go through that again," he said. "At the same time, the success we are having now is so much more valid and valuable as it was obvious that it was not just about a big company saying we are here, now we want to win and then it works. It's about a whole team all working hard, it's not about money in the first place, but many other things. It was visible within these years what a fight that was and, once again, I think the result is even more valuable than if we had won in the first season and ever since."
Zetsche said Mercedes' board would only ever be happy in Formula One if the business model makes sense, and that required, in the long-run, success on track.
"Beyond all emotions there has to be an intelligent business decision, and of course the motivation is marketing. We want to present our brand and we believe there is no better place to present the brand in marketing than in our core business, which is engines and cars and therefore racing. That is much more convincing than sponsoring something.
"Still, you have to justify your spending with results, and for that reason we had to have discussions [on the board] independently about the pros and cons. There was not one person on the board who was against and others in favour, but we had to discuss all the aspects and make the right decision in the interest of our company and our shareholders. That's where we came to the conclusion that we are not a company for the short-run and what we do we do for the long-run, so when you are not successful you have to work harder to become successful. That's true in our core business and that's true in racing.
"Ultimately, there was never a conflict of battle in the board, but after we discussed all the pros and cons we came to the conclusion that we would continue. That's why we are still there and we are all satisfied that it was the right decision."
Zetsche does not subscribe to the view that Mercedes' dominance is making F1 boring, and said it is up to the other teams to catch up if people want to see more than one team winning.
"Many have expected Mercedes to succeed in this competition, some were even surprised that it took us this long to be competitive. I get a lot of positive responses that we are there where it was expected before. On top of that it is very clear that we have two top-notch drivers who have come in after nearly two hours of racing within a fraction of a second.
"I think and we have seen, certainly in Bahrain but not only there, that we can have fierce fighting between our two drivers for the No.1 position, which in itself is a lot of excitement, and for me sometimes more than I can bear, but I think for many of the people watching it as well. On top of that we have a lot of positive changes between the teams and in the teams, and last but not least it is not our task to take that issue on. That is the task of our competition, but we are aware that everybody will try to reduce this gap, but we will not support this effort."
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