Williams F1 Exec Toto Wolff Replaces Norbert Haug at Mercedes
Wolff will take a senior management position in charge of Mercedes-Benz’s motorsport activities replacing departed Norbert Haug
by Jim Davis | 21 January 2013
Williams F1 Team has announced that Toto Wolff is to leave his role as an executive director of the team with immediate effect to take up a new position with Mercedes-Benz. Wolff is set to take up a senior management position in charge of Mercedes-Benz’s motorsport activities as replacement for the departed Norbert Haug.
As a shareholder and director at Williams, the new job would have led to a clash of interests, which is why he has stood down from his direct responsibilities with the outfit. He will retain his financial involvement, however.
Team principal Frank Williams praised the work that Wolff had done for his Grove-based outfit over recent years, and said it would have been wrong to stand in the way of the opportunity the Austrian had at Mercedes.
“I would like to thank Toto for his hard work, dedication and commitment to the team during his time as one of our executive directors,” explained Williams.
“He was a key support to me in this role last season, deputising at a number of races when I was unable to attend. However, positions such as the one offered to him by Mercedes do not come around often.
“Toto has a long history with them and I certainly was not going to stand in the way of him accepting this once in a lifetime opportunity.
“Toto will retain his shareholding in Williams and will always have a place at Grove but make no mistake; we will fight him hard on the race track!
“I am sure he will be a strong asset for Mercedes and on behalf of the whole team I would like to wish him the best of luck in his new role.”
Wolff already had close ties with Mercedes through a 49 percent stake he had in the engineering company HWA, which helps run the German car manufacturer’s DTM program.
Wolff’s departure from Williams comes against the backdrop of other senior staff having left the outfit over the past year, including former chairman Adam Parr and chief operations engineer Mark Gillan.
Williams said that he had the utmost confidence that the current management structure of the team would continue to ensure that the outfit had a bright future.
“I’m lucky to have a very professional group of people around me and the company’s executive committee will continue the work they have been doing to ensure a successful future for the business,” he said.
British based Williams F1 team looks set to be the only team to miss getting its cars ready for the first pre-season test at Jerez in Spain, however. Its new challenger will be launched before the second test in Barcelona.
Mercedes-Benz strengthens Formula 1 racing team
Stuttgart, Germany, January 21, 2013Daimler AG plans to reorganize its Formula 1 activities. In this context, Daimler has signed a letter of intent with Austrian investor and motorsport manager Toto Wolff, according to which Wolff will acquire a significant minority interest in the Daimler subsidiary Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd. (MGP) and will also head that company as its executive director. Furthermore, Niki Lauda, currently non-executive chairman of MGP, will also acquire a stake in the company. Together with Ross Brawn, Lauda and Wolff will complete the management of the Mercedes-Benz Formula 1 racing team.
"As an entrepreneur, investor and motorsport manager, Toto Wolff has proven that this sport runs in his blood; at the same time, he is also well aware of the economic necessities of the business. With Toto Wolff, we have gained for our Formula 1 team not only an experienced motorsport specialist, but also a longstanding enthusiast of the Mercedes-Benz brand. Together with him and Niki Lauda, we will further develop our motorsport activities and guide our Silver Arrows into the next era," stated Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars and Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG.
Toto Wolff is to become both a shareholder and executive director of Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd., and will take over the complete coordination of all Mercedes-Benz motorsport activities.
Wolff sees his new task as one of the most exciting challenges in motorsport: "Mercedes is one of the most important participants in motorsport worldwide. I am not only a big fan, but also a longstanding friend and enthusiast of the brand. I am looking forward to the challenge and, along with preparing for a successful racing season, also want to focus on the targeted promotion of new talent."
"I am leaving Williams on good terms and I will miss the team and friends I have made there. I'd also like to wish Frank and the whole of Williams the best of luck for the future", Wolff added.
Toto Wolff started his motorsport career in Formula Sport in 1992. Since 1998, Wolff has founded several venture capital companies. His current investments include an interest in HWA AG, the partner of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport in DTM racing. In November 2009, he acquired a stake in British racing team Williams Grand Prix Holdings PLC and joined its board of directors. Since July 2012, Toto Wolff has been a member of that team's management. Toto Wolff will resign from that position when he joins Mercedes-Benz, but will remain a Williams shareholder.