Mercedes tie down Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda until 2020 after 'exceeding our expectations' with F1 dominance

Daimler AG chairman Dr Dieter Zetsche praised Wolff and Lauda for their impact since Mercedes' 2013 management shake-up

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The Independent Online

Toto Wolff and non-executive chairman Niki Lauda have both signed new long-term deals with Mercedes.

Lauda, who began work with the Formula One team in 2012 and Wolff, who joined one year later, will stay with the champions until at least 2020.

The duo's reign at the helm of Mercedes has coincided with their unprecedented success over the past three years.

"It's great news that Toto and Niki have extended their agreements," Dr Dieter Zetsche, chairman and CEO of Daimler AG, who hold a majority stake in the team, said.

"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."

Mercedes have dominated the sport since the move to hybrid engines in 2014.

They have won the constructors' championship for the last three seasons, while Lewis Hamilton has claimed two driver titles and Nico Rosberg one when he clinched the championship last year before retiring.

"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," Wolff, the Austrian, who will retain his 30 per cent stake in the team, said.

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

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Zetsche praised Wolff and Lauda after winning the drivers' and constructors' double three years in a row (Getty)

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 the team in January and is set to join Williams. He has since been replaced by the highly-rated James Allison, formerly of Ferrari.

Hamilton and his new team-mate Valtteri Bottas will take the wraps off their new Mercedes at Silverstone on Thursday with the first test of the season starting in Barcelona on February 27. The season gets under way in Melbourne on March 26.

PA

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