Williams have confirmed executive director Toto Wolff has left the team to join one of its rivals.
Wolff is joining Mercedes as an exeuctive director and shareholder. He will give up his seat on Williams’ board of directors but retain his shareholding in the team.
“I am leaving Williams on good terms and I will miss the team and friends I have made there,” said Wolff. “I’d also like to wish Frank and the whole of Williams the best of luck for the future.”
Frank Williams said he understood Wolff’s move, commenting: “Positions such as the one offered to him by Mercedes do not come around often”.
He added his thanks for Wolff, who became the team’s executive director in July: “He was a key support to me as executive director last season, deputising at a number of races when I was unable to attend”.
“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,” continued Williams.
“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.”
Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche said Wolff “has proven that this sport runs in his blood” but “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,” he added.
“Together with him and Niki Lauda, we will further develop our motorsport activities and guide our Silver Arrows into the next era”
Wolff called Mercedes “one of the most important participants in motorsport worldwide” and described himself as a “big fan” 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.”
Mercedes also confirmed Lauda is now a shareholder in the team.
Toto Wolff is married to Susie Wolff who races for Mercedes in the DTM and is a test driver for Williams.
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