Glock out of Marrusia, Wolff moves to Mercedes, Wolff and Lauda get 40% of Mercedes AMGF1, Adam Parr to return to Williams

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From TJ13’s chambers: Having been stranded due to the UK’s inept capabilities in handling snow and then struck simultaneously by a telecoms service cut – NO INTERNET – I have finally made it back to the 21st century following a succesful rescue helicopter air lift by harness from TJ13 Towers.

So I will begin by covering the essentials and then expand the comments and threads of ideas later.

Wolff joins Mercedes: TJ13 has been suggesting all is not well at Williams for some time, the departure of Mark Gillan to ‘spend more time with his family’ as a story that has not yet run its full course. This time last year, Mr. Ecclestone was putting pressure on the historic British team to change their ways.

Referring to the promotion of Adam Parr to heir apparent of Sir Frank, Ecclestone suggested, “I don’t think they’ve done it the right way. The changes should have come from above, not from below. I think people like Toto Wolff should get more control,” added Ecclestone.

He was of course referring to Christian ‘Toto’ Wolff, a young Austrian businessman and former racer who had a minor team shareholding and of course Toto was involved in the management of Williams’ test driver Valtteri Bottas.

Of course history records Adam Parr ‘resigned’, Williams received a ‘signing on fee’ for the new Concorde agreement about a week later for over £25m and Toto stepped up to the plate. Here is the Mercedes announcement.

“Daimler AG plans to reorganize its Formula 1 activities. In this context, Daimler has signed a letter of intent with Austrian investor and motorsport manager Toto Wolff, according to which Wolff will acquire a significant minority interest in the Daimler subsidiary Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd. (MGP) and will also head that company as its executive director. Furthermore, Niki Lauda, currently non-executive chairman of MGP, will also acquire a stake in the company. Together with Ross Brawn, Lauda and Wolff will complete the management of the Mercedes-Benz Formula 1 racing team.”

Dr Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the global car manufacturer promised last week there was ‘more to come’ and he explains the rationale. “As an entrepreneur, investor and motorsport manager, Toto Wolff has proven that this sport runs in his blood; at the same time, he is also well aware of the economic necessities of the business.

“With Toto Wolff, we have gained for our Formula 1 team not only an experienced motorsport specialist, but also a longstanding enthusiast of the Mercedes-Benz brand. Together with him and Niki Lauda, we will further develop our motorsport activities and guide our Silver Arrows into the next era.”

Toto, on throwing his hat into the ring with Brackley based F1 team comments, “Mercedes is one of the most important participants in motorsport worldwide. I am not only a big fan, but also a longstanding friend and enthusiast of the brand. I am looking forward to the challenge and, along with preparing for a successful racing season, also want to focus on the targeted promotion of new talent.

“I am leaving Williams on good terms and I will miss the team and friends I have made there. I’d also like to wish Frank and the whole of Williams the best of luck for the future.”

I believe Woff is getting 30% of the AMG team and Lauda 10%, which is of course the old Aarbar stake that Daimler bought last year following the Arabian sovereign fund’s disasterous gambling losses on the futures market in Mercedes Benz shares.

What is of note, is that there is no mention of Nick Fry in the statement. “Together with Ross Brawn, Lauda and Wolff will complete the management of the Mercedes-Benz Formula 1 racing team. More to follow soon on that I suggest.

You have to love Sir Frank, one of the most gracious men I’ve ever met, and a credit to F1 history. He says of Toto, “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. Toto will retain his shareholding in Williams and will always have a place at Grove but make no mistake; we will fight him hard on the racetrack! 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.

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.”

I’ve heard this morning rumours that Adam Parr could be making a return to Williams, now that the tricky Concorde agreement has been signed and monies received. Adam was key in turning around the financial and organisational affairs for the historic Grove team that had threatened its extinction from F1 racing just 6 years ago.

In dark times for the historic British F1 marque he delivered sponsor development and management at a time when Williams as a racing team looked shambolic. Further he distilled out of the frenetic and disparate activities  of an F1 team a concise macro view of how the team is functioning, or not as the case may be.

I was impressed with the simplicity of the eventual plan for Williams resuscitation, which now appears logical and obvious. However, the detail of the programme required effective organisational and collaborative skills which in a world where everyone has an opinion, is not easy to do.

However, there are those who believe Adam’s ‘tell all’ book, “The art of war: 5 years in F1” together with his recent offers to facilitate an new official F1 fans association have positioned him outside F1’s inner circle. Yet all is not well at Williams presently and those with Adam’s skill’s and F1 grounding are few and far between.

Let’s hope Sir Frank is not influenced again by the F1 politicking which at times drives F1 decision making that has no semblance of sanity or reason.

UPDATE: Williams share price fell today 2.83% – they’ve been much worse though

Other matters in brief

Of course today see’s the announcement that Timo Glock is on his way out of F1, probably to DTM. Mark Webber tweeted to Timo this morning, “you’ll be missed matey on the drivers parade and drivers meetings chats. One of the good guys, and never went to your head.

I saw a tweet from Buemi on Saturday that read, ” “Some important news very soon! A good week end to everyone!”

There is more news is filtering through abour Force India and it appears there is a good chance Di Resta could be out of a 2013 drive.

more soon on both matters.

21 responses to “Glock out of Marrusia, Wolff moves to Mercedes, Wolff and Lauda get 40% of Mercedes AMGF1, Adam Parr to return to Williams

  1. Never saw Di Resta out of a drive as a possibility, figured Force India would keep him on for some continuity but I guess not!

  2. Sutil is a certainty for the Force India seat motorsport-total is saying and from what I recall they where first to say about the Hulk and DiResta line-up.

    If there’s no more Di Resta interviews on BBC, when are we supposed to visit the fridge or put the kettle on?

  3. Was wondering what happened to you when the F1 rumour and news mill started last night… Welcome back 🙂

    Not sure what Williams will do and how Parr can come back without upsetting Mr E. that said, he is probably on his way as well.

    What is your thoughts on Di Resta? Hulkenberg outshone him last season and I think he may be a bit overhyped? Not that he is not good but maybe something is not there (people management?)

    • Maybe Frank is not so worried about upsetting someone that is perhaps going to be stepping down from CVC relatively soon to fight a battle to stay out of prison. Parr back at Williams would be good. It’s a 50/50 chance for me.

    • Mr E’s running on borrowed time. I’m not surprised at the rumours that he may buy FI, he’s lived in the lime light long enough that it’s expected that he’s looking to stick around one way or another.

      Di Resta really isn’t in a good position, he’s tied himself to Mclaren and Mercedes and he’s been passed over by both teams this year. If I was him I’d be firing my manager, Hulkenberg obviously had someone who knew something he’s manager didn’t and had far less to lose if he stayed and E or Ferrari buy FI.

      • He fired Anthony Hamilton and is now with the same group (Sports Partnership) that handles Button and Coulthard. While he’s a good driver he’s not shown to have the talent or results to justify a drive in a top team, which will keep he in the mid-field, and without significant sponsorship he’ll always be competing or a drive against those that do. He never seemed to connect with the fans and I suspect he’ll soon follow his cousin to the US.

    • I have mixed feelings about Paul, he was excellent in 2011 – lost his way back end of 2012. But in the good old days he’d definateley get another season to prove his talent.

      The problem is that there are so many drivers pushing for F1 seats, its like English Premier League managers – you get one shot and if you don’t bring home the bacon – off to the slaughter house.

      I think Paul has been caught out by the Heikki syndrome and failed to read the changes of wind. He is sponsored by Mercedes and in the past that was enough, a kind of marque status of a ‘special’ talent – but now when a new kid rocks up to Vijay’s cash strapped outfit with 20m euro behind him – what’s going to happen.

      Drivers will not make this mistake in the future, they will work far harder to develop their own sponsors and not rely on being ‘pretty good’ and having a benevolent single sponsor who is only contributing the cost of a GP2 seat plus a bit more.

      How hard is it for an F1 driver’s manager to make a couple of appointments a month for a driver to meet corporations that brand build, and do enough to raise an extra 500,000 here and there.

      Is it right – No. But it’s Bernie’s financial model that has brought us here – together with the failure of the FIA, FOM and the teams to budget cap properly.

  4. There is some irony that FI are the only team yet to confirm any driver for 2013. But currently they are to be the second team to launch their 2013 car on Feb 1st. If they don’t confirm anyone before that then it’ll be one awkward launch!

    • Hi Mike, thanks for commenting – is this you’re first visit to TJ13?

      They apparently will not announce their ‘driver lineup’ before the launch – rumblings going on – read my post from Friday – another coming soon.

      Anyway the commentators here are a friendly and knowledgeable bunch – hope you enjoy.

  5. On Mercedes – Hamilton must be wondering if he made the right decision to move to the team, especially in light of the 50M euro’s that Lauda claimed were to be added to the budget from Mercedes won’t be coming. They are spending around half of Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren and that will make it very difficult for them to challenge them, regardless of what Alonso says. The ownership structure is now such that with Lauda and Wolff having some experience running an F1 operation it will be a lot easier for Mercedes to unload the team if things don’t work out. I’ve long believed that Mercedes got much more from F1 as a technology partner, especially with McLaren, than they get by having their own team.

    On Williams – while I think most everyone pulls for the team to do well, Frank has had many opportunities over the years to create long-term partnerships over the years, as McLaren did, with major manufacturers and has not done so, preferring to go his own way. If there is anyone to blame for Williams current woes it’s Frank himself.

    On Glock – this time next week we’ll have forgotten about him. Good driver nothing special.

  6. Merc really puzzle me. Why get the strongest driver on the grid (Alonso’s words, not mine), Lauda, Wolff, all those other high profile engineers and NOT spend money. F1 is such that if you don’t spend, you don’t win. Then again, getting Wolff etc just to offload the team 3 years later if it doesn’t succeed? I don’t know, they must be spending for 2014/15, otherwise why go down a 3-year exercise of spending less thatn the other big 4 teams and then offload the team to Wolff and Lauda. What’s the point? There’s a weak link somewhere, media reporting, Merc board, common sense…???

  7. Re the MB management team, how many needed for a Ooompah band?

    Elsewhere I commented about the surprising impermeability of Williams to new talent and their mainly stolid consistency business wise, and that may be much to do with Parr’s work. But is Williams starting to be a good place to say you are from, rather than at? I think they need to keep whoever they choose next just a little bit longer. At a certain point implacable becomes inscrutable, and though I’m far from twitchy, that’s what I shall be on the lookout for as a sign to check their share price, next.

    Looking at the further dealings in shares and Wolff holding i think 16% of Williams, I wonder what FW may have extracted for his very gracious valediction.

  8. There is clearly , ALOT of behind the scenes , scenerios playing out here. The landscape of F1 as we knew it , is changing . With Wolff and Lauda , buying into MGP , their ” so-called 40% SHARES” investment to make up for MB ” buyback ” of Aabar shares , should provide them with some serious clout to sort out this very poorly managed team !! Why Nick Fry is STILL there , is shocking !! I still don’ t understand why and what he does . The same when it was Brawun GP !! , The same when it was HONDA GP !! The same when it was BAR !!!! Can someone , PLEASE , explain his role , and why he deserves to be there ?? Besides lucking into some ownership shares !!

    • Welcome Andrew – I think this is your first comment – please feel to do more – the TJ13 crew are pretty friendly – and if I make a mistake – they tell me quickly 🙂

  9. 1. Agreed UK is PATHETIC when it comes to snow for some reason.

    2a. Know what you mean about internet going – ours went on sunday. rang up monday, no one coming to sort it out till friday (which is now tomorrow). only have internet becuase of persuading vodafone into giving a free trial of unlimited internet, maning we are tethering/hotspotting, whatever you want to call it, off mobile.

    2b Really annoyed that, when having fully functioning internet, not much was happening. When internet goes, we have glock leaving, wolff moving to merc, brawn and fry reportedly in the firing line, lowe thinking about moving to merc, and others, all in a few days.

    2c The above hints at why I am only just commenting on this story now (24th) at 12:40 in the morning. Seen I have 7 more articles to catch up on now (although I wont be able to read all of them before I go to bed), and supposedly at least one more during the (actual) (thurs)day.

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