At the end of the 2012 racing season, Norbert Haug’s departure as the head of Mercedes motorsports programs sent shockwaves through the racing community. It now appears that Toto Wolff will be named as the new director this coming week.
Does Williams F1 team shareholder and executive director Toto Wolff have enough on his plate? If reports emerging from the UK and Europe are correct, Wolff will be named this week to take over the reins as motorsport director of Mercedes Motorsport from Norbert Haug, who was relieved of his duties late last year.
It's appropriate that the position held by Haug for more than 21 years continues to play a major role in DTM, F3, and several touring and sports car series besides the world’s premier Formula 1 series. Championships are important to all manufacturers to keep their brand name in the market place. 41-year-old Wolff has long held a stake in the HWA firm that runs those efforts on behalf of Mercedes - but is it too much? Could he continue to work with Williams, a company in which the Austrian acquired a stake in November of 2009? Wolff became Williams F1 executive director in 2012 after the departure of Adam Parr and has effectively performed day-to-day operations throughout the year.
While the appointment hasn't been officially announced by Mercedes, speculation is rife as to whether Wolff would take over the Formula 1 team's operations, particularly since fellow Austrian Niki Lauda became non-executive chairman of the Mercedes team last year - shortly before the hiring of 2008 F1 champion Lewis Hamilton was announced.
There are many questions and, of course, Mercedes officials are unwilling to speak on the record this weekend. It's apparent, though, that there is some movement regarding this pending appointment with only details - like the disposition of Wolff's position at Renault-using Williams F1 and his work with HWA - still to be resolved before the official word is released at the same timeframe that the DTM teams hold their first pre-season test days in Valencia.