Mercedes poaches BMW F1 engine chief

Dr Werner Laurenz, the head of the BMW Motorsport F1 engine programme in Munich since 1999, is defecting to Mercedes-Benz. Laurenz is reported by auto.t-online.de to have left BMW last Tuesday, having worked on its 2003 P85 engine up to the day of his departure. BMW's chief F1 engine designer Heinz Paschen will replace him as the F1 project leader

Mercedes poaches BMW F1 engine chief

Laurenz took over from Paul Rosche in 1999 and has been heavily involved in the design of every BMW F1 engine since the company returned to the category in 2000. This season's engine is widely regarded as the most powerful in F1.

"Werner Laurenz did a great job in helping to establish the BMW F1 department and now he looks for new challenges," said BMW Motorsport director Mario Theissen. "Heinz Paschen has been exclusively involved in design and calculation of the V10 engine, and is now happy to take over the responsibility of the entire engine. The fact that we are able to replace Paschen's position through internal promotion of personnel underlines the strength and stability that the team has reached."

Paschen (49) joined the F1 project in January 2000, having previously worked for Toyota Racing Developments as the designer of the CART engine which took current BMW WilliamsF1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya to the 2000 CART title with Ganassi Racing.

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