Friday, 14 December 2012

Haug Ends Mercedes Days

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Norbert Haug's 22-year reign as head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport is to draw to a close at the end of this year.

During his time in charge Haug oversaw Mercedes' return to Formula One in 1994, primarily as an engine supplier.

In 2010 Mercedes made a comeback as a manufacturer in their own right after buying out 2009 world champions Brawn GP, playing a part in tempting Michael Schumacher out of retirement.

Haug was also a key figure in tying up a deal for Lewis Hamilton as the 27-year-old will replace Schumacher at Mercedes from next season on a three-year contract after a 14-year association with McLaren.

Aside from F1, Haug oversaw projects in DTM (German touring cars), Champ Car, GT, Group C and Formula Three, with Mercedes winning 439 of the 986 races in which they competed with Haug at the helm.

With Haug's contract coming to an end, the decision for his departure has been made by mutual agreement with Mercedes' board of management.

Dieter Zetsche, head of Mercedes-Benz Cars and CEO of Daimler AG, said: "Norbert was the face of the Mercedes-Benz Motorsport programme for more than 20 years. For me, he put his stamp on a whole era and, as a highlight, he was responsible for the successful comeback of the Silver Arrows to Formula One.

"In the name of the board of management and the whole motorsport family, I would like to thank him for his extraordinary commitment to the three-pointed star."

Under Haug, Mercedes-Benz won six F1 world titles and 87 grands prix, while in DTM they claimed 32 championships. However, it is perhaps Mercedes' lack of success in F1 as a fully-fledged team – with just one victory in three years – that has played a part in his departure.

Haug said: "Since 1991 we had tremendous achievements and wins, for which I want to thank all of my colleagues. Unfortunately, with one victory in 2012 since founding our own F1 works team in 2010, we couldn't fulfil our own expectations.

"However, we have taken the right steps to be successful in the future. Our team and our drivers will do everything to achieve these goals."

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