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Whatever the truth behind Norbert Haug's departure from Mercedes, and the truth will probably become apparent in the coming days, make no mistake, the man had motor sport coursing through his veins.
A former journalist - he became deputy chief editor of the renowned Auto, Motor und Sport in 1988 - Norbert, who was also a keen racer, contesting, among other things, the 24 Hours of Nurburgring, in which he finished second in 1985, joined Mercedes-Benz in 1990.
His brief was simple, to re-establish the legendary German company in motor sport.
Taking the company into Group C, DTM and the International Touring Car Championship, it was in 1993 that he brought the Three Pointed Star back to Formula One having agreed a deal with Sauber which initially started as "assistance" but a year later developed into a full blown engine partnership.
Having taken the German manufacturer into CART and developed what was to be a highly successful partnership with engine manufacturer Ilmor - which it bought outright following the death of co-founder Paul Morgan - Haug was to establish a multi-title winning partnership with McLaren which was then struggling with Peugeot powerplants.
In 2010, having bought Brawn GP, Mercedes returned to Formula One in its own right for the first time since 1955 when it withdrew from the sport in the wake of the Le Mans tragedy. Despite taking its first win, the three years since the team was established have been difficult, not helped by the fact that the re-named Lotus (Renault) team totally out-classed it this year.
When he wasn't at Grands Prix, Norbert could be found at race tracks in various parts of the globe, week in, week out, overseeing his company's interests. It went way beyond his remit yet he was happy for he has racing coursing through his veins.
A little known fact is that on DTM weekends, during the lunch break, various drivers take VIP's and paying customers around the track as passengers for a couple of laps. The cars are current racing cars, such as DTM cars, Porsches, Seats and Mini's, with passenger seats, as well as road going cars such as Audi R8s, M3s and AMG Daimlers. Norbert would regularly go out with a Rally SL.
The paying race fans line up at the start of the pit lane and the drivers, including former racers, would pick them up, the practice being known as "Renn Taxis".
"It's pot luck which car and which driver you go out with," says Pitpass regular Viktor Koltun. "If I remember rightly Jenson Button drove one of the 'Taxis' at Brands at the DTM race there. Norbert always has real fun and performed a few donuts for the fans and his passengers (below). The fans really enjoy him going out in the SL."
His departure is almost immediate, and the words "by mutual consent" suggest otherwise. There is talk of him falling on his sword after three disappointing years for the German marque's F1 team, while others claim he is being pushed out in favour of an incoming Niki Lauda.
Whatever, one has to wonder how Lewis Hamilton might view the reshuffle, after all, Lauda, though a legend on track, has little to boast of in terms of team management, the Austrian having failed miserably at Jaguar.
Hopefully we'll get to hear the truth when Norbert sits down to pen his memoirs - an inside view of the paddock from a team boss/journalist is almost mouth-watering - however, in the meantime, as we bid Norbert farewell, we leave you with these words from Martin Whitmarsh.
"I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Norbert for all the help and support he's offered McLaren over many years. The period since McLaren and Mercedes-Benz first teamed up in Formula 1 in the mid-'90s has been a successful and enjoyable one, and Norbert's influence and guidance have been crucial contributors to that enjoyment and success.
"His love of motorsport is genuine and profound, as is his natural racer's competitiveness. On behalf of everyone at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, I wish him well for the future."
And so do we at Pitpass.
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