Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda have new contracts with the Mercedes F1 team. They have signed deals until the end of 2020.
Wolff is the head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport since the end of 2013. His compatriot and triple F1 champion Lauda is non-executive chairman of Mercedes AMG Petronas since September 2012. They both retain their shares in the team – 30% and 10% respectively.
“In 2013, we restructured the management of the team with the clear goal of improving our performance. Since then, however, the results have exceeded our expectations. A key factor in this success has been the combination of Toto’s entrepreneurial skills and Niki’s experience. Their renewed commitment gives our programme important continuity for the next four years”, chairman and chief executive officer of Mercedes’ parent company Daimler Dieter Zetsche said.
The deals of Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda are the latest in a number of changes at Mercedes
Nico Rosberg quit Formula 1 a few days after winning the title in 2016 and half of the winter was spent looking and negotiating for his replacement. Valtteri Bottas is the new driver in Brackley alongside Lewis Hamilton.
Technical chief Paddy Lowe left Mercedes at the end of 2016. A couple of days ago James Allison was announced as the new technical director of the team. The technical structure will be different as Wolff takes full responsibility for the team, while Allison will report directly to him.
Meanwhile Wolff explained that the team’s interests were priority when looking for Rosberg’s replacement.
“If I put myself in the fans’ shoes, I’d like to have Fernando [Alonso] in there – the old rivalry of 2007 happens again’, the Austrian Wolff told BBC. “But from a team’s perspective, it’s just something that wouldn’t go. There’s history, and that year was particularly painful for Mercedes as McLaren’s partner back in the days. Of course, people mature and people change. It would have been an exciting line-up, but maybe just a tiny bit too exciting for us.”