Mercedes parts ways with long-time chief

December 13, 2012, 3:17 PM

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

STUTTGART, Germany — Mercedes’ longtime motorsports chief, Norbert Haug, is stepping down this month after more than 22 years in the post.

The Formula One team said in a statement Thursday that Haug, who is also Daimler’s vice-president, was ending his career "by mutual agreement" and that "preparations for the forthcoming season continue as planned."

Haug is the second high-profile departure from Mercedes in less than three weeks, after seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher bowed out of the sport with his last race at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton, the 2008 world champion, signed a three-year contract as Schumacher’s replacement in September.

"We had tremendous achievements and wins, for which I want to thank all of my colleagues," Haug said. "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."

Mercedes, which is owned by Daimler, and its partner teams won six F1 championships and 87 races since Haug took over on Oct. 1, 1990, but success as a stand-alone outfit has been more elusive over the past three seasons.

"Haug was the face of the Mercedes-Benz motorsport program for more than 20 years," said Daimler chief executive Dieter Zetsche. "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."

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