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Mercedes boss Wolff signs new deal

Toto Wolff (left) talks to Niki Lauda ahead of the 2013 German Grand Prix in Nuerburg © DPA/AFP/File / JENS BUETTNER

STUTTGART, Germany, Feb 20Mercedes Formula One team boss Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda have extended their deals with the world champions until at least 2020.

Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the Daimler conglomerate that includes Mercedes, said that under Wolff and ex-drivers’ champion Lauda: “The results have exceeded our expectations.”

Mercedes, with Lewis Hamilton and the now-retired Nico Rosberg as lead drivers, have dominated the world championship since 2014. They have won the drivers’ and team titles for three years in a row.

The announcement came ahead of Hamilton and new teammate Valtteri Bottas unveiling the new Mercedes car at Silverstone in England on Thursday.

The first Formula One testing of the season starts in Barcelona next Monday, leaving one month before the season starts in Australia on March 26.

Mercedes will be looking to extend their domination and see Wolff, who has a 30% shareholding in the Formula One team, in particular as a key element.

“It’s great news that Toto and Niki have extended their agreements,” said Zetsche.

“In 2013, we restructured the management of the team with the clear goal of improving our performance. Since then, however, the results have exceeded our expectations.

“A key factor in this success has been the combination of Toto’s entrepreneurial skills and Niki’s experience. Their renewed commitment gives our programme important continuity for the next four years.”

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Wolff, who joined Mercedes from Williams in 2013, one year after Lauda became the team’s non-executive chairman, has brilliantly kept the lid on the bitter Hamilton-Rosberg rivalry to steer the team to success.

“Winning is never down to single individuals — it is about the right group of people coming together, aligning themselves with a common objective and then combining their talents to achieve that target,” said the Austrian.

“Each day I come to the factory, I am humbled to have the privilege of representing this inspiring group of people.”

Lauda, the three-time world champion who also has a 10 per cent holding in the team, added: “The last few years have been some of the most enjoyable I have had in Formula One.

“Toto and I formed a perfect partnership at Mercedes and we have a great team on every level that has delivered results.”

Lauda and Wolff had formed a managerial triumvirate with Paddy Lowe, but the Briton left in January and since been replaced by James Allison, formerly of Ferrari.

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