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SBD Global/December 14, 2012/People and Pop Culture

Mercedes Motorsports Director Norbert Haug Resigns After 22 Years

Norbert Haug will leave Mercedes Motorsports after a 22-year run.
Mercedes revealed that Motorsport Head NORBERT HAUG "will leave the company at the end of '12," according to Alan Baldwin of REUTERS. Mercedes said in a statement, "His contract will come to an end by mutual agreement with the Board of Management. Preparations for the forthcoming season continue as planned." Haug, who turned 60 last month, "has led Mercedes' motorsport division since Oct. '90 and played a part in signing Britain's '08 F1 world champion LEWIS HAMILTON from McLaren for next season." Haug was also VP of the Daimler AG (REUTERS, 12/13). The PA reported "during his time in charge, Haug oversaw Mercedes' return to F1 in '94, primarily as an engine supplier." In '10, Mercedes "made a comeback as a manufacturer in their own right after buying out '09 world champions Brawn GP, playing a part in tempting MICHAEL SCHUMACHER out of retirement." Aside from F1, Haug "oversaw projects in DTM (German Touring Car Championship), 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" (PA, 12/13).

In London, Simon Cass reported Haug's "departure comes two months after the appointment of three-time F1 world champion NIKI LAUDA as non-exec director," his principle role being to liaise between the Mercedes' board and its Brackley, England-based F1 operation. Lauda "was instrumental in persuading Hamilton to turn his back on McLaren to accept the challenge of turning Mercedes into F1 frontrunners." However, Hamilton "has a long-standing relationship with Haug, and his departure is likely to make his transition from McLaren to Mercedes that little bit more taxing" (DAILY MAIL, 12/13). Daimler AG CEO & Mercedes-Benz Cars Head DIETER ZETSCHE said, "Norbert Haug was the face of the Mercedes-Benz Motorsport program 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 motorsports family, I would like to thank Norbert for his extraordinary commitment to the three-pointed star (AUTOWEEK, 12/13). The DPA noted Haug "thanked the company for their trust and said that there had not been a single moment without passion in the 22 years. 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 Formula One works team in 2010, we couldn’t fulfill 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" (DPA, 12/13).
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