Mercedes F1 chiefs Wolff and Lauda extend contracts with team

Mercedes chiefs Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda have committed to new contracts with the Formula 1 team that run through until the end of 2020

Mercedes F1 chiefs Wolff and Lauda extend contracts with team

After a winter of change - with world champion Nico Rosberg and executive director (technical) Paddy Lowe departing - the fresh deals bring some long-term stability to the team.

The 2020 date is in line with Mercedes' current commitment to F1, which has been laid down in the current bilateral agreements between teams, the FIA and the championship's commercial rights holders.

Discussions with F1's new owner Liberty Media about extending the deals of all teams are expected to begin this year, and are likely to be protracted amid the idea of a big overhaul of the prize money structure.

Wolff and Lauda have worked closely together since the departure of former team principal Ross Brawn at the end of 2013.

Lauda joined the Mercedes programme at the end of 2012 and holds a 10% stake, while Wolff followed shortly before the start of the '13 season and is a 30% shareholder.

Lowe had also been part of the management team, but left at the start of this year ahead of an expecting switch to Williams.

Mercedes has since appointed ex-Ferrari man James Allison in the new role of technical director.

Wolff and Lauda have helped the German car manufacturer enjoy its most successful period of F1, securing three consecutive drivers' and constructors' world championship titles.

"The last few years have been some of the most enjoyable I have had in Formula 1," Lauda said.

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

"I must thank Dieter [Zetsche] and the other members of the board of Daimler AG for renewing their confidence in us."

Although there have been challenges along the way, Mercedes's road car management are adamant that the different personalities of Wolff and Lauda have been instrumental in delivering it success on track.

"In 2013, we restructured the management of the team with the clear goal of improving our performance," Dieter Zetsche, the chairman and chief executive officer of Mercedes' parent company Daimler, said.

"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."

Mercedes is due to launch its 2017 F1 car at Silverstone on Thursday.

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