Mercedes, Haug part company…saw this coming

After 22 years in the business of managing Mercedes and their racing endeavors, Norbert Haug is calling it a day. Affectionately known as “Husky Norbert Haug” here at F1B, we tend to think the contract was up and like 7-time champion Michael Schumacher (twice), Haug is not being picked up for a new term or contract. The two Germans will ride off in the sunset knowing they had not achieved what they would have hoped to achieve in F1 in the last three years.

That’s not an indictment of Haug or Schumacher, Formula One is a tough business and it is difficult to win or even place. What we predicted several weeks ago has come to fruition as we suggested here.

Haug is gone and like Schumacher, he’s achieved a lot in motor sport. Haug most recently faced a tenuous contract negotiation with F1 commercial rights holders over the new concord Agreement in which Mercedes was not given a seat at the table of the F1 commission.

Mercedes decided to bring in Niki Lauda and he’s been credited for staving off the Concorde Agreement row as well as bringing in star driver Lewis Hamilton to take the place of Haug’s big driver move, Schumacher. Mercedes is top-heavy and we figured a few heads would role. We wonder what Nick Fry must be thinking about now.

Here is the full press release:

After more than 22 years as Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, Daimler AG Vice President Norbert Haug will conclude his career at the end of 2012. His contract will come to an end by mutual agreement with the Board of Management. Preparations for the forthcoming season continue as planned.

Norbert Haug has led the Motorsport division of Mercedes-Benz since 1 October 1990. In that time, Mercedes-Benz and its partners won six Formula One world championship titles and took 87 Formula One victories. In the DTM, Mercedes teams won a total of 32 titles under Haug’s leadership. Since the first title win in 1992, Mercedes-Benz has won 54% of all DTM races and about 60% of all DTM titles (drivers/manufacturers/teams). During that period of time Mercedes-Benz has competed in 986 races in total (Formula One, Champ Car, GT, Group C, Formula 3) under Haug’s leadership and won 439 of them (45.4%).
“Norbert Haug 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 Norbert for his extraordinary commitment to the three-pointed star,” said Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars and CEO of Daimler AG.
“I would like to thank the best car company in the world for more than 22 years, which never had a single moment without passion for me. I particularly wish to thank the Board for the trust and freedom they have always given me with all my activities. 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 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,” said Norbert Haug.
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