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Reviews Obituary for Jürgen Hubbert: Mercedes' motorsport makers

12:45  16 january  2021
12:45  16 january  2021 Source:   motorsport-total.com

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Former Mercedes executive Jurgen Hubbert , a key player behind the marque's move into the DTM and Formula 1, has died at the age of 81. On reviewing the state of the company Hubbert decided that motorsport was the way forward. Mercedes had not fully embraced an official involvement in racing

Jurgen Hubbert obituary : ex- Mercedes executive dies aged 81. Former Mercedes executive Jurgen Hubbert , a key player in the brand’s transition to DTM and Formula 1, has died at the age of 81. After reviewing the state of the company, Hubbert decided that motorsport was the way to go.

Jürgen Hubberts Lebenswerk dauert bis heute an © Motorsport Images Jürgen Hubbert's life's work continues to this day

Jürgen Hubbert died on Friday at the age of 81 in Sindelfingen . Mercedes is mourning the loss of a leader who gave the brand with the star new impetus. Most of all, however, Hubbert will forever be associated with Mercedes' return to motorsport.

Mercedes © Daimler Mercedes

Hubbert was the key figure in Mercedes entering the DTM, sports car racing and finally Formula 1 at the end of the 1980s.

Born in 1939, he joined Mercedes-Benz in 1965 after completing his engineering degree. He quickly made a career and took on management roles at the Sindelfingen plant. In 1987 he finally became a member of the Executive Board.

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Former Mercedes executive Jurgen Hubbert , a key player behind the marque's move into the DTM and Formula 1, has died at the age of 81. With a return to grand prix racing on the horizon Hubbert hired former journalist Norbert Haug to head up the motorsport programmes.

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During an examination of the Group's position, Hubbert made the decision that motorsport was the right way to go. Mercedes had not been officially involved in motorsport since 1955 (withdrawal in the wake of the Le Mans catastrophe). So that was a big step.

David Coulthard © Motorsport Images David Coulthard Reasons for returning to work after more than 30 years

"When I got an overview of the situation, I realized that we were in trouble," he wrote in 2018. "Due to a internal debate we neglected our cars. The focus was on becoming an 'integrated technology company'. "

"My hope was to polish up our image with a motorsport commitment. I remembered the 1950s when I was still in school and discovered an interest in the sport."

"But I also looked back at the 1930s. There have always been times when things didn't go well for the group and when motorsport gave the brand an extra boost. It worked back then. I always had that in the back of my mind . "

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Mercedes was officially involved in the DTM from 1988 and at the same time expanded its involvement in Peter Sauber's sports car team. Because a return to Grand Prix racing was already on the horizon, Hubbert brought journalist Norbert Haug on board as the head of the motorsport program.

Long road to success

The plan to enter Formula 1 with Sauber as the works team and Michael Schumacher as the driver, however, failed. In 1993 and 1994, Mercedes limited itself to reduced support as an engine supplier. In 1995 Peugeot was finally replaced as an engine partner at McLaren.

"It didn't work [initially]," recalled Hubbert. "We experienced one setback after the next. Our engines went up on the start / finish straight on the penultimate lap - in front of a large audience."

"Then in 1997, Ron [Dennis] said, 'Here it comes. Can you smell it?' I just asked myself, 'What does he mean now?' And then we won in Australia. The first Mercedes victory with David Coulthard at the wheel. And the next year we were world champions. "

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Jürgen Hubbert , the former chairman of Mercedes -Benz and the man who helped launch the A-Class and M Class, has died at the age of 81. It was with Hubbert as chairman that Mercedes pushed into completely new segments, creating the market niches for which it has since become famous.

Fokker is part owned by the Dutch government, but since 1993 the historic plane- maker 's biggest share has been owned by Germany's Daimler-Benz company, the maker of Mercedes cars. Daimler's aerospace group has been badly hit by the strength of the European currencies against the U-S dollar.

New Mercedes models and lectures

Hubbert was part of the management of the Daimler Group, but also a powerful figure behind the scenes in Formula 1. He was one of the key figures in the GPWC - the failed attempt by several manufacturers to split off from Bernie Ecclestone. Even after joining the Ruhrstand in 2004, he continued to support McLaren.

During his career at Mercedes, he had a major impact on the product range. He oversaw the introduction of the A-Class, M-Class and CLK. Also, under his leadership, Smart was born. He also found time for an academic career and gave engineering lectures at the Technical University of Karlsruhe.

CEO Ola Källenius says: "Jürgen Hubbert was Mister Mercedes. With integrity, innovative spirit and great success he shaped Mercedes-Benz forever. The Mercedes family will be forever grateful to him."

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