F1 team principal role is outmoded, says Wolff

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 31, 2014 9:04 AM

LONDON (Reuters) - Formula One teams no longer need a traditional principal at the helm because the sport has moved on, according to Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff.

"That position is a thing of the past," said the Austrian, who has shared executive responsibilities at the Mercedes team with Paddy Lowe since the departure of former team principal Ross Brawn at the end of last year.

While Wolff takes care of business, Lowe oversees the technical side.

"You don't have the equivalent of a team principal in any other sport, let alone companies," Wolff told the official formula1.com website on Friday, saying the role was a legacy of the past.

"Look at football: you have a trainer, then you have a team manager and then you have the man who is looking after the commercial side.

"That team principal position comes from the team founders - those iconic men who founded the teams: Frank Williams, Ken Tyrrell and even Ron Dennis, who were running every aspect of their teams."

Dennis, who was principal of McLaren from 1982 to 2009, has recently regained control of that team but is not expected to appoint a team principal to replace previous incumbent Martin Whitmarsh.

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Instead, Frenchman Eric Boullier has been brought in to fill the newly-created role of Racing Director, reporting to a chief executive officer under group chairman Dennis.

"The times where one person decided over politics, shareholder issues, organization management and actual racing doesn't exist any longer," said Wolff.

"We believe our management structure is the right answer to the needs of a modern Formula One team."

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)