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Wolff, Lauda extend contracts at F1 team Mercedes

Defending Formula One champions Mercedes have extended the contracts of Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda. The new deals will keep the duo at the helm of the motor racing team for another three years.

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport announced on Monday that Toto Wolff (pictured above, left), who is effectively the team principal and Niki Lauda (above, right), the non-executive chairman of the board, would remain at the Formula One team until at least the end of 2020. Wolff holds a 30 percent stake in the team, while Lauda owns 10 percent.

Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the Daimler conglomerate that includes Mercedes, said in a statement that under the guidance of Wolff and Lauda, the teams results had "exceeded our expectations."

"A key factor in this success has been the combination of Toto's entrepreneurial skills and Niki's experience. Their renewed commitment gives our programme important continuity for the next four years," he added.

With Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in the cockpits, Mercedes won the drivers' and constructors' titles for three years in a row. Rosberg, however, retired after winning his first drivers' title last November. He has been replaced in the second Mercedes cockpit by Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas. The team is to unveil its new car at the Silverstone circuit in England on Thursday.

Pre-season testing starts in Barcelona next Monday, a month before the season opens in Melbourne with the Australian Grand Prix on March 26.

pfd/sb (AFP, Reuters)

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