Formula 1: German press names Wolff as Haug replacement at Mercedes

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Williams Formula 1 team shareholder and executive director, Toto Wolff, is joining Mercedes as their Head of Motorsport and as a replacement for the departing Norbert Haug, Germany’s mass daily newspaper Bild reported yesterday.

Wolff, whose Scottish wife Susie drove a Mercedes in the DTM (German Touring Car championship) is a shareholder in HWA AG which runs a Mercedes DTM team and also works with Mercedes in Formula 3.

Mercedes – who have Britain’s 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton as well as Germany’s Nico Rosberg as their F1 drivers – said they did not wish to comment on speculation. Williams also said that they had no comment on the story.

If the report is confirmed, the move would be seen as a major setback for former champions Williams as they prepare for the new season which starts in Australia on 17 March. The Austrian was handed a far more hands-on role in July last year, working closely with team founder and principal Frank Williams and he has also helped to guide the career of the team’s new Finnish driver, Valtteri Bottas.

Wolff’s compatriot Niki Lauda, the retired three-times world champion, was appointed non-executive chairman of the board of the Mercedes Formula 1 team after Haug’s departure was announced last month.

Bild also said on their website that the move could be officially announced tomorrow at a DTM test which is being held at the Valencia racetrack in eastern Spain. .