4. Dr. Dieter Zetsche | Chairman, Daimler AG
|Position last year: 5|
|Bio: The boss of Daimler, owner of the championship winning team Mercedes AMG Petronas. A big influencer in the German Grand Prix.|
|Google searches (approximate stats during the past 12 months): 0.7 million|
The boss of Daimler, owner of the championship winning team Mercedes AMG Petronas. A big influencer in the German Grand Prix! He is credited with instigating a great sea change in the fortunes of DaimlerChrysler and masterminding the demerger of the two companies in 2007, becoming Chairman of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. The company’s importance to the continuation of Formula 1, as an engine supplier and manufacturer, cannot be underestimated, and as it stands, Dr Dieter Zetsche appears happy to continue with Mercedes’ involvement in the sport.
Having graduated in electrical engineering at the University of Karlsruhe in 1976, Zetsche joined Daimler-Benz, working in research before becoming Assistant Development Manager of Vehicles just five years later. 1982 saw Zetsche complete a doctorate in engineering at the University of Paderborn and at the age of 45, became a member of the DaimlerChrysler’s Board of Management following the merger of the two automotive powerhouses, that same year, in 1998. With the Daimler-Chrysler deal unable to provide the tangible rewards, which brokers had hoped for, the Chrysler brand was sold off for restructuring to Cerberus Capital Management. His next challenge, following the streamlining and a return to profitability for Daimler AG, was to oversee the return of the Mercedes brand to Formula 1. It was the first time the marque would enter Formula 1 as a manufacturer following the 1955 Le Mans disaster, and Zetsche, along with Mercedes Motorsport boss Norbert Haug masterminded the takeover of 2009 Champions, Brawn GP; a team they had successfully supplied engines. He has shown himself to be a pragmatic business leader, reaffirming his company’s commitment and continued investment in Formula 1. As engine supplier to a quarter of the grid and a manufacturer in its own right, Mercedes’ involvement in the sport is a priceless gesture of confidence. Daimler now owns 60% of Mercedes.
Zetsche wants to keep Schuey for as long as possible – “he’s an icon” – although they won their first GP (China 2012) with Rosberg. Not signed up for Concorde Agreement yet and not happy that they haven’t been invited to join the board…