21 January 2013
Williams will not block 'lifetime opportunity' for Wolff
Sir Frank Williams has said that he could not deny Toto Wolff the chance to accept the 'once in a lifetime' opportunity offered by Mercedes.
Williams Grand Prix Holdings has confirmed that Toto Wolff will relinquish his position as executive director to take up a new role with Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix.
The move, which was first rumoured in the German media over the weekend, will see Wolff take up the position last held by Norbert Haug prior to his decision to step down at the end of the 2012 campaign, although it has yet to be formally announced by Mercedes.
Wolff will relinquish his seat on the Williams board, but the team has confirmed that he will retain his shareholding, which is reckoned to be around 19 per cent. Team principal and majority shareholder Sir Frank Williams will continue to oversee the running of the company with Wolff's responsibilities being shared between members of the board's executive committee.
“I would like to thank Toto for his hard work, dedication and commitment to the team during his time as a director of the company,” Williams said of the Austrian, who stepped up as replacement for Adam Parr at the start of the 2012 season, “He was a key support to me as executive director last season, deputising at a number of races when I was unable to attend.
“However, positions such as the one offered to him by Mercedes do not come around often. Toto has a long history with them and I certainly was not going to stand in the way of him accepting this once in a lifetime opportunity.”
“I'm lucky to have a very professional group of people around me and the company's executive committee will continue the work they have been doing to ensure a successful future for the business.”
Wolff, who owns a stake in Mercedes DTM partner HWA, will now oversee an F1 team hoping to bounce back from a tough end to 2012, in which Michael Schumacher's points at Interlagos prevented a seven-race barren streak. The German is gone for 2013, however, replaced by Lewis Hamilton, who transfers from McLaren to partner Nico Rosberg.
“Toto will always have a place at Grove but, make no mistake, we will fight him hard on the racetrack!” Williams added, “I am sure he will be a strong asset for Mercedes and, on behalf of the whole team, I would like to wish him the best of luck in his new role.”
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