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GP Week : Issue 179
Gpweek - 220x297_Layout 1 28/01/13 21:44 Page1 F1 >>> NEWS FRY PANNED The game of Mercedes musical chairs at the team’s Brackley and Stuttgart headquarters continues, with Nick Fry the latest to be caught standing with the music switched off. Fry, who has spent over a decade with the Brackley-based racing team in all its various guises will step down as Chief Executive of the squad in April, handing over his responsibilities to Mercedes' new head of motorsport Toto Wolff, but will continue as a consultant to the team until the end of 2014, if not beyond. "I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to work with our team for the last 11 years and remain extremely proud of the fact that we took the team to its first race win and especially the double World Championship in 2009,” Fry said when the announcement of his imminent – and long-rumoured – departure was confirmed by the team. Fry has been working in Brackley since 2002, when the team was called BAR. David Richards sought Fry’s ser vices as managing director when management of the then-struggling race team was outsourced to Richards’ Prodrive. Fry took over as team principal at the end of 2004 when Richards was ousted as part of a deal with Honda that also gave the engine supplier a 45 percent stake in the team. As team principal, Fry oversaw the squad’s transition from privateer to fully-fledged works team with Honda assuming complete control at the end of 2005. He celebrated the team’s first win in 2006, but also saw his fair share of controversy most notably when the team were banned for two races in 2005 after they were found to be under weight in scrutineering checks following the 2005 San Marino Grand Prix. However, despite Honda having claimed their first win with Fry at helm, they failed to recapture the form displayed in 2004 when they finished the year second only to the all-conquering Ferraris. An astute manager well aware of the need for top-notch staff, Fry was instrumental in luring former Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn out of a sabbatical to lead a turnaround of the struggling team in 2008. He also helped Brawn keep the outfit afloat after Honda pulled out at the end of that year, helping him lead the team to double-championship success in 2009. Fry’s departure comes in the wake of a management shake-up at Mercedes’ Formula One squad following three largely lacklustre years for the Silver Arrows since their return to the sport as a full-fledged works team. Former vice president of Mercedes-Benz motorsport Norbert Haug was the first head to roll as a result of the Stuttgart board’s dissatisfaction with what they perceived to be a poor return on their heavy investment. In January, former Williams director Toto Wolff replaced Haug as the company’s motorsports director, while triple world champion Niki Lauda was brought in as non-executive chairman of the grand prix team. Both Wolff and Lauda bought stakes in the F1 team as part of the deal, and are now believed to control 40 percent of the shares between them. More recently, Ross Brawn’s future with the team has also been called into question with McLaren announcing that technical director Paddy Lowe will be leaving the team to join Mercedes at the end of 2014. Lowe has reportedly been lured to Mercedes with the promise of a high profile role, the detai;s of which have yet to be confirmed, and with the team already packed to the rafters with technical and managerial bigwigs, Brawn is widely expected to depart once Lowe comes on board. 8 GPWEEK.com // 8 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: