Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Norbert Haug to leave after 2012
By Berthold Bouman
After 22 years Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Norbert Haug will retire at the end of this year. The Mercedes-Benz company reported the 60-year old German will end his career ‘with mutual agreement’. Haug actually started his career as a motorsport journalist, not without success, as he in 1988 became deputy chief editor of the German Auto, Motor und Sport magazine, the German authority on motorsports worldwide.
Haug joined Mercedes in 1990 when he became head of the Motorsport Division; his task was to revive Mercedes’ credentials in motorsport as they had abandoned all motorsport activities after the 1955 Le Mans drama which cost Mercedes driver Frenchman Pierre Levegh and 80 spectators their life.
Haug made Mercedes successful again in Group C racing, DTM and several international touring car championships. Formula One was still on Mercedes’ to-do list and they started to supply engines built by Ilmore to the Sauber team in 1993. But at the end of 1994 Peter Sauber switched to the Ford Zetec engines, and in 1995 Mercedes became the engine supplier for the McLaren team, a relationship that still stands today.
In 2010 the mother company Daimler bought together, with investment company Aabar, the Brawn GP Formula One team, and turned it into the as yet not very successful Mercedes GP team. A few weeks ago Daimler purchased the remaining shares from Aabar and now fully owns the Mercedes Formula One team.
Nico Rosberg, Norbert Haug and Michael Schumacher
Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars and CEO of Daimler AG praised Haug for his work at Mercedes. “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,” he said.
Haug commented on his leaving, “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.”
About the lack of success of the Mercedes Formula One team 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.”