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...and an old attacker retires

LEO MEHL, Goodyear's head of worldwide racing and one of the sport's great characters, is retiring on March 1st, after 22 years in charge of the Akron company's racing activities. During that time he led Goodyear to many victories - notably once or twice in F1 politics when he crossed swords with Bernie Ecclestone. Mehl won.

Leo, who turns 60 on April 7, is tipped to be on his way to a new job as commissioner for the Indy Racing League.

Leo joined Goodyear as a tire compounder in 1959, and joined the racing department in 1963. He played an important role in Goodyear's Indianapolis 500 victory in 1967 and later that year was posted to Goodyear in Wolverhampton, England, as the company's European Racing Manager. In October 1971, he was appointed chief engineer of Goodyear racing, and he became director of racing in 1974, taking on the worldwide role five years later.

Mehl will be replaced by 45-year-old Stu Grant, who has been director of racing for the last 18 months. Grant has been with Goodyear since 1972 and joined the racing program a year later. He became chief compounder in 1978 and manager of race tire programs in 1983, a position he held until 1991 when he transferred to passenger tires. In June 1994, Grant joined Goodyear subsidiary Kelly Springfield Tire, but was called back to the racing division in September of the same year.

Grant's role will be taken over by Steve Myers, who has been with Goodyear for 15 years, which includes spells as Group Leader in both Indycars and F1 and as chief compounder.

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