Haug admits Mercedes exit due to poor results

Soon to be ex-Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug has admitted his sudden departure is down to the poor results suffered by the manufacturer's Formula 1 team.

Haug, who has held the role for some 22 years, is adamant however that he wasn't forced out and the divorce was an amicable decision.

"There is always somebody who has to accept the overall responsibility," he told the SID agency. "We have had our successes in the past three years, of course, but not consistently enough – so a direction had to be set and a marker laid down.

"I got together with the Board after the season and we sought an amicable solution; we found it, and the talks were as fair as they have always been in the last 22 years."

Some have linked his exit to the arrival of Niki Lauda who has joined the team as a non-executive chairman after he helped lure Lewis Hamilton to the team from McLaren. Haug denies this is the case.

"It is a decision the board and I reached jointly, Niki had absolutely nothing to do with it," he added. "We get on and respect each other just like we have done for many years and that is not about to change."

Meanwhile Michael Schumacher has described Haug's exit as a great loss, believing it will "tear a massive hole in both the sport and the team."

"Since I entered professional motorsport, Mercedes and Norbert Haug together were part of it, so this step will mark a big break," said the German.

"We spend a lot of years together, being sporting combatants or allies, and Norbert has always been into this with full enthusiasm and wholeheartedly. He was living motorsports, and him leaving will tear a massive hole in both our sport and our team."