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Hartmut Kristen: A Decisive Decade in Motorsport

Hartmut Kristen: A Decisive Decade in Motorsport

Sunday, February 22, 2015

By Kerry Morse
Photo courtesy Porsche

A short version of this intervew with more pictures can be seen in the February 2015 Porsche Panorama.

MORSE: What have you learned about the relationship between motorsport and the
 enthusiasts who support it?

KRISTEN: Back in 2007 I had to go to Monza to talk to customers about the future of the Supercup. I was used to going to ALMS races with the RS Spyder, when as you went through the paddock you met people, your colleagues, the competitors, spectators or fans, and you walked around there as a free guy. You could say hello to everybody; you could walk wherever you wanted. The only thing is to be polite and not do anything stupid. But at that Supercup race…no smiling faces. I saw race drivers coming from two-story motorhomes, putting their helmets on to run across into the pits: ‘Please don’t talk to me.’ That’s crazy; that’s not motor racing.

That’s been the effect of the F1 approach, where you can’t see through the fences and the fan is removed from the action. 

That’s why I definitely like racing here in the U.S. It’s a much more open paddock. I mean, I have met people here that I see at every second race…for decades! And it’s much easier to talk to your colleagues from BMW, Aston Martin, Ferrari than anywhere else in the world.

The WEC has adopted some of the ALMS strategies like the driver autograph sessions. It doesn’t seem to be so structured as it was in the past.

I think they definitely looked at the ALMS, what their success was, because we always told them that we don’t want to have a second F1 just because there are a lot of manufacturers involved in WEC. We want people to be able to say hello to our drivers, to talk to our drivers when there is nothing going on in the pit lane. We are only human beings, and I don’t want to get tunnel vision from the container office to the pits and back. I think we all lose creativity from all that; you can’t enjoy life anymore.

Let’s use creativity as a starting point with the current situation regarding the balance of performance (BoP). These are words that, until recently, the casual fan had never heard.

They can’t understand it.

And even the teams don’t appear to understand it, at least when an edict comes down the night before the first practice session, or someone’s allowed to get new parts that are suddenly okay to use. This thinking is so far removed from a formula that has served sports car racing so well for so long. So what is it that the officials don’t understand, that nobody is happy. 

The BoP came up about ten or twelve years ago when we were discussing with the ACO about LMP1 regulations between diesel and gasoline engines. In GT, look at 2006, 2007, and 2008. Aston Martin and Corvette were fighting against each other, and most of the competition didn’t take place on the track; it took place off track. Both were complaining about using parts that were not allowed, and everybody figured out the parts were okay because they got the secret ‘ok’ from the rule makers to use the part. And that’s stupid. It started with them having no idea how to keep competition alive, how to attract manufacturers. They got caught up in the idea of buying people to like them: ‘You get everything you want if you say yes and join our series.’ And this still happens; that’s crazy. 

So it’s your turn to win this week, and next week you can’t win. BoP stifles creativity; use Group C rules as a comparison. ‘Here’s your fuel allowance,’ which gave the engineers a freedom to develop systems individually. With BoP you’ve removed all that.

Absolutely, and when the discussions about the current LMP1 regulations started, I said to go back to plain physics: Draw the line where you want to have the limits and leave it open to everybody to make the best out of it. That’s the single point. Now there is a significant difference between LMP1 cars, or let’s say ‘spec’ cars, in that everybody starts with a clean sheet of paper. In GT cars, you start with a road car—but the number one important point if you want to attract new participants, new manufacturers, is you have to tell them what the rules are, not just the technical rules. The rules are you have to do your own development work, you have to do your own homework. When you are the new kid on the block, you might not be the most competitive, so officials might say ‘Yes, we will help you, but we will help you only until you get close to the others but not above them.’ And this is something that has never worked properly, because they always help. I had this discussion with Ted Mayer years ago about the Viper. At Long Beach it was so fast on the straight but so slow through the corners that it took Patrick Long three or four laps to pass him. And I said, ‘This has nothing to do with racing. We have developed the car entirely to the rules, and then you come and put such a big air restrictor on the car, it can only go straight.’

Part of the big problem is homologation or lack of it in the traditional sense. You brought up Aston Martin and the Corvette. Those were not customer versions. You don’t call up Pratt and Miller and say, I’d like a car to go. The Aston was a reworking of the Prodrive Ferrari 550 Maranello. Shouldn’t BMW, Corvette, and Aston be ordered to make X amount of cars for homologation? Then you’d have a more stable platform.

Yes. I can’t agree enough. We had done this with the RS Spyder. We have here at WEC two 911 RSRs running now. ProSpeed bought the second Proton car from Le Mans—they had a 997 so far; we have Falken, and we will build another four or five cars for next year for customers. If everybody only runs two cars, BoP will not work properly, because you can hide too much, because you don’t have to share secrets. We have this discussion internally, and a lot of my guys have always told me, ‘Don’t sell cars to customers, because it’s much easier to control BoP from our end.’ And I’ve always said, ‘If we race two cars and maybe two other manufacturers are doing it, we have six cars; with six cars, no racing series will survive.’ We need privateers, because we have to make people be attracted by what we are doing. Not just passively; we need people to be actively involved.

Has anybody done it right ?

Who has done a beautiful job is Ferrari, absolutely, and they were not prepared ten or fifteen years ago. I remember when I had a discussion with them and asked why they were always coming with just one car that was heavily supported. I said, ‘Your car is too good and let’s talk about it, because ten Porsches versus one Ferrari doesn’t help the entire story.’ Then suddenly people said, ‘Okay, we don’t want to be one out of ten, we want to be number two at least.’ So they bought a Ferrari and it worked or it didn’t work, but when you compare it today with Aston Martin, whether it’s Pro or Am, it’s always Aston Martin. There are no privately-owned customer teams, so they still control the BoP, and all these mechanisms don’t work together properly. That’s the problem. There are certain elements that people thought could solve our problems, but they never really considered the entire picture that is necessary to make it work. And that’s the issue.

What significant changes have you witnessed from when you took over the department in 2004, because there have been more changes in the last decade than there were in the previous twenty years.

There are two elements actually. One is industry specific and the other Porsche specific. The complexity has grown significantly, and that’s not only an issue with racecars but also with road cars. In the past a good car was defined by good mechanical components, and those were always expensive. That’s why they couldn’t be produced in high volume. With electronics it’s exactly the opposite: You cannot produce electronic components for reasonable money in low volume; that’s impossible. For that reason today, when you look at everything from carburetors to modern fuel injection, a carburetor was when you needed some kind of craftsmanship to adjust to weather conditions and altitude and everything, so there was some kind of know-how required that was specific to running a car….

…a human element.

Yes, today the human element is not car specific. You have to be able to work with electronics, and you have to make the electronic system to a specific purpose, but every time you start doing that, you add one or two people to a race team. In the past a guy like Alwin Springer could run a team: He looked at the spark plugs, he looked at the tailpipe, he listened to the driver, and he made the necessary adjustments. Today you have four or five guys telling the driver what he should say, because they see it on the telemetry. That’s a significant difference. You need people from outside the car business to understand the dynamics of the car—how it should be to drive, to make it perform.

You can’t program the human element that way. Otherwise we would have radio-controlled cars with no drivers….

Oh, it will come; don’t worry. Everybody is working on it.

How will that be racing or a form of competition other than clever development?

I think that we are coming back to where we started our discussion; everybody is working on self-controlled cars. It’s safer; it’s more comfortable. If I want to get from A to B, I don’t necessarily have to drive. So the more important point is not getting from A to B. The way between is. And this change in our thinking, whether you look at how electronics impact your private household, your daily life, it changes our world. An RSR today is more complex than a GT1 racecar was in the late ’90s. Go back twenty years and think about a car like the GT1 being able to be operated by a small team. Impossible; nobody would even have thought about it. Why should it be possible today?

Because we are almost programmed to think that way. Is the art of driving—and I witnessed this at Le Mans—disappearing in the sense that the driver is surrounded by so much stuff and steers with a wheel that is incredibly complex? Have we lost the freedom just to race a car? For example, one of the Audi accidents came down to a brain cramp; they couldn’t figure out exactly what happened. Is it overload with that constant information and constant demand?

It’s riding on the edge. Thirty years ago you were allowed to run the 24 hours of Le Mans with two drivers in the car, and today everybody says that was exhausting. Mechanically and physically that was exhausting, yes, because there was no power steering and stuff like that, but mentally, from my point of view, it was not. Drivers were tougher, used to different things impacting their daily lives. They had to believe in their capability in keeping mechanical control over the car. Today if you don’t listen to the engineer who’s telling you that something is going wrong on the telemetry, you screw up.

Let’s get back to the changes you’ve seen at Porsche in your time.

HK - We had a significant change in generation, losing people like Roland Kussmaul, who had followed the 911 from the very beginning, and it definitely hit Porsche in a very strong way. A few days ago I thought about having to say goodbye to my people, and then I thought about how many I can talk with about the last twenty years. There might be two or three people left out of two hundred that were there twenty years ago, so actually I’m saying ‘thank you’ for the last five or six or eight years, and this is important.

Were you consciously aware of this?

You don’t realize that on a daily basis, but from time to time you suddenly realize it. Another guy is gone— Kussmaul, Rainer Gohl, Gerd Schmid, all whom I learned a lot from. I was always thinking about what kind of guy do I need next to make it work. In the early years there was the guy when you needed something specific from the business or shop area, but I also had to think about who was going to be the successor, what kind of guy, what kind of character, what kind of qualifications do they need? Then I would realize, wow, there’s a change again. 

And there is one more point to it that I think is interesting. When I started in 1994, the motorsport department was still very small; Porsche didn’t have good times in those days, and then it picked up again until the end of the 1990s. In the early 2000s, a lot of people left who still knew about the 917, that knew all about the 962. I realize this when I read an article about Porsche’s history and I read all the mistakes—though that kind of mistake doesn’t really hurt anybody.

Yes, it does! The history becomes misconstrued. A 993 GT2 EVO from the BPR Series in 1996 is confused with a 996 GT2 waterpumper? How many people are left in Weissach Flacht from the GT1 era?

Very few. I went through my files while cleaning out the office. A lot of photos! I asked the museum whether they want to keep some of the stuff. Some I threw away but most of it I kept. I called to my younger guys, who maybe have been with the department for five or six years, and I asked if they knew anything about the GT2, this beautifully colored, sufficient car. Few did. I recall when there wasn’t money, we didn’t have a marketing budget in motorsports, we couldn’t do things like we can do today, but we always had our own ideas and could make the car attractive to somebody else and sell it later.

In my neighborhood there are a dozen Cayennes, and that’s great for the marque, but these people don’t know what a GT2 is or care. Without the Cayenne would there even be a Porsche company to go racing? I don’t know whether to drink that Kool-Aid or not.

From a marketing point of view, you have to believe in racing. If not, don’t get involved in it, don’t spend one penny, because there are no statistics that can, without a doubt, prove to you that it’s right or wrong. If you believe in it, everything that you believe in comes true. That’s how simple it is. The 911 is the core of our brand, because without the 911 this company would not exist today or it would be a different company. Would that different company sell as many cars and be as successful as Porsche has been for the last twenty years? Maybe one day we will have to think about the 911, that it’s not an appropriate car anymore. But whenever we do something like that, we have to do it not just because we want to do something different but because we have come to a clear conclusion. If you look at the sports car market at the moment, if Porsche didn’t have the Cayenne, the Macan, the Panamera, we would have the same problems as we experienced at least three or four times while I was with the company. The sports car market is always going up and down based on certain developments, like the double-income/no-kids people who made all these little roadsters like the Porsche successful. But where are they today? Where are the people who will buy the next new idea? I remember the discussions that we had about the Boxster, and the only thing we always agreed was that we would not develop a ‘small 911.’ That was the only point, because we said a smaller 911 would be less expensive and people would buy it instead of the bigger one.

Do you think that was a mistake?

No, I am absolutely convinced that it was the right decision to do something like the Boxster. When you get to all of our models today, there are specifics that are put in all of our cars to tell you it’s a Porsche. And this is what we have to keep. Beyond that it’s not so important whether its x, y, or z kind of concept. Keep the elements that make a brand and the people who understand the brand and who will properly represent it—not people who are just polishing their nameplate.

There was not much doubt that former CEO Wendelin Wiedeking was not a big race fan. How were you able to get your projects through? The RS Spyder is certainly a great tale. One day the true story of the Hamster…(the GT3R Hybrid).

The Hamster! (laughs) You are trying to get the last secret out of me! In those days there was really a very simple way of doing it. I honestly accepted that any motorsport project would have to stand in line with any other project. Porsche would judge it in the same way as any other project: What does it bring to the success of the company? And it’s not always monetary success. I don’t know for how many millions of euro development budget I was responsible for in the last ten or twenty years—maybe 300, 400, 500 million—I don’t know exactly, but the point is I could always explain that I wanted to do it because it’s important for the company.

Before John Wyer formed J.W. Automotive, he said he learned from his time with Ford to be absolutely prepared for every argument that could be used against him, and he himself would question every single decision he made. Seems like you and Wyer went to the same school.

Yes, absolutely, you have to find the right mix of reason and emotion. For instance, Wiedeking was definitely not a race fan, but also his argument in regards to racing was always, “I’m a business guy. If I have to spend money, I want to be able to calculate the risk that I’m taking.” Now in motorsport the biggest risk is you’ve spent all the money and you don’t have success. The Carrerra GT was as expensive as a racing program, but everybody knew if we sell a certain number we have break-even and each car beyond that creates profit and at the same time states that ‘we are a sports car company.’ And this was parallel to the time we were launching the Cayenne.

Do you think canceling the LMP1 program for 2000 was the wrong decision? 

(After a very, very long, thoughtful pause) As a racer, I should say yes. As the guy that believes in what I just explained, it was the right decision to cancel.

Because of the development costs and to keep up with Audi?

No, I think at that point in time we were not set up to do it properly.

Really? I would have thought after the GT1 it would have been easier. Was the decision from a management point of view purely financial?

Definitely financial.

You had the introduction of the 996, for example; all of this was happening at the same time.

At that time there was a huge technology step in racing. The ’98 GT1 proved there were so many things that you had to be prepared and to know about. I have looked at the LMP1 car and, yes, it’s a 15-year-old racecar and somehow every racecar after ten or fifteen years should look a bit old fashioned. It still looks beautiful. The engine made it to the Carrera GT, but as a thinking process with regards to the future, it was the right decision to cancel the program. It’s really difficult for me to admit to it.

You are definitely emotional about it.

Yes, absolutely, because Porsche should be racing. Nevertheless, it’s what I said before. Even if you talk about racing projects or programs, you have to buy into the same criteria to make a judgment, make a decision, as with any other. That’s how I honestly believe.

You still have two races yet to run and win. What has given you the most inner satisfaction?

Because of the content of my job, there are two different areas: One is racing, and the other is the GT road cars. On the road-car side, the point is with the first GT3. I can exactly remember the day when the first prototype was parked in front of my office alongside the 996. And I looked at the 996 and the GT3 car as a Cup car, and I said that the 996 is a legitimate 911 because you can create cars like the GT3 out of it. With every new 911 model that comes out, I always ask what we can do with it. I still like a purer kind of car, and I want to be able to make old-fashioned guys like us have fun with cars like that. 

More on your role in the development of the GT road cars please…

When I joined the Motorsport department in April 1994, it was split up into two units: the Development and Factory Program unit, which included the Carrera Cup in Germany and the Porsche Supercup, and the unit called Sales and Marketing Special and Race Vehicle Customer Racing. The latter one consisted of the Project Management for GT road- and racecars, which was my main operational focus in the early days, the Customer Race Track Support (Gerd Schmid, Rainer Gohl, Jürgen Barth); Racing Parts Sales (Bernd Mueller); Logistics and Warehouse (Karl-Heinz-Kirschner and two warehouse workers and three procurement specialists); and Dept. Assistant (Dagmar Rechkemmer). In total we were twelve people. The first project that was started after my arrival was the 993 GT2, the model being based on the 993 Turbo to be launched in March 1995. We got Board approval in August; the car was first shown at the 1994 Essen Motorshow. You might remember the red car with black and silver ‘roads’ all across.

I still have that press release!

The first three racecars were delivered early January 1995 to participate in the Daytona 24. Road-car production started early March 1995, even a few days before the 993 Turbo production started. Even the racecars were produced in Zuffenhausen, without fender flares and rear wing, like the Cup cars are produced in Zuffenhausen still today. Throughout the 993 lifecycle the customer racing department did not only sell the racecars to the customer but also the road cars. Sometimes it was a challenge to find the customers to match the budget numbers, which in those difficult days was essential for the company. The 996 GT3 road car was the first special GT model to be sold through the Porsche dealer network like any other Porsche road car. Only the GT1 was still our responsibility. It was a great experience selling twenty-plus road cars that were priced at DM 1,250,000 excluding VAT in 1997.

Was it difficult to gauge the satisfaction and importance of making a road car versus a race car? There are considerably more barriers today transforming a race GT to a road GT. Few manufacturers even attempt the task.

Up to the second generation of 997 GT3, the road cars were always developed to fit the needs of the racecar. Don’t forget: Those were the good old days. There were regulations that clearly defined what modifications were allowed based on a homologated road-car model, and you were free to come up with solutions independent from road-car specs. So there was no way for the one without the other. To a certain degree that helped the road cars, because numerous details were only fitted to them to help the racecars. Without that argument, even then the controlling people would have used lots of red ink to scratch off the good stuff. Today you have to have lots of electronics on the road cars that may not be used on race cars, and more and more sophisticated elements on race cars that were an absolute no go in the past. This all became possible with waivers and the BoP. But to answer your question with one sentence: It was fun to be responsible for the development of road cars and racecars at the same time. I will miss working with guys like Roland Kussmaul and Georg Breuer.

And from the racing side?

That’s difficult to say, but definitely the RS Spyder project was one of the highlights in that part of my life. On the other hand, the GT world is much more important, from the day it started, and it continues until today. There is definitely the Le Mans victory of 2013, there is Sebring 2008 with the RS Spyder, there is 2003, the 24 hours of Spa, winning against the GT1 competition…oh, I loved it! There were races with the GT3R hybrid…your Hamster.

The Hamster, I think, has to be your high point for the risk that you took. It had to have been a hard sell to management.

That was something special in many different ways. And it breaks in the human element again, the learning curve of young engineers. I was standing there saying it’s not possible. These guys made steps day by day, working and growing with the project; it was amazing, unbelievable.

In 911 terms I view the Hamster the same way as the first 2.1 911 Turbo in 1974. It had no business existing. However, the combination of the turbo flat six and the visuals changed the image of the 911 forever. On the Hamster, I think the world has been slow to realize just how important, influential and radical the car is in Porsche history. It really is a prototype as was the 2.1 Turbo.

I honestly believe it has been really important, because it shows that even with significantly more horsepower than the usual 911, you can still drive the car.

Could the GT3R Hybrid program have conceivably continued?

Because of the success or the fear that people had of what kind of potential the car had, more or less everything was killed where you could run it.

In terms of the circuits and sanctioning bodies?

We were clearly told, ‘We will BoP the car so that it will not be capable of winning.’

I would have thought it would have been the ultimate entry to celebrate the 911’s birthday. How did Marketing miss this one? And if you can run a Delta Wing at Le Mans, you should be able to run the Hamster. It would have taken away the sting about “Our Mission, Our Return,” which I find really disrespectful for the people that have carried the water buckets for years. Porsche has never gone away; they have been there since 1951. Yes, the “return” might be to an overall…

That’s what it means…

Yeah, we know what it means, but still it wasn’t very well thought out by marketing as to what kind of impact it might have, and to me it gave the GT guys second-tier status. At the end of the day it’s still going to be the 911 and/or its variants in GT racing that is going to continue.

The slogan “Porsche Intelligence Performance” was created with the GT3R Hybrid, and it’s used today.

My point, and that’s what made the car special and pushed the envelope so far. Can you imagine if the Hamster had run in the prototype category with the Delta Wing? That would have been a fantastic story in itself.

The ACO asked us in 2011, and we thought about running the car at Le Mans. We were not prepared at that point in time, and the next year we passed. If it wouldn’t have been a GT car, it would have been possible, but everyone was scared like hell that we would make everyone else in GT racing look stupid and that they didn’t have the right to control it.

How do you issue a BoP on the Hamster, you can’t…weight is the only thing they could do.

Weight and also combustion chamber and engine performance; both are important. Nevertheless, yes, it would always have been difficult to predict the performance level that you would get to with what you tried to adjust.

Adjust within your own evolution from the first to the last variant of the Hybrid program. You told me once it was day and night in terms of the performance in terms of pushing the software, pushing the performance.

If you compare it at the beginning, it was like someone stupid and at the end it was getting closer to a genius. That’s what it is and it was for a car with completely new technology, and we first had to learn how to build the components, how to work with the components, how to make that car work because, yes, it had a weight disadvantage and it had significantly more complex components. On the other hand, using it properly…(BIG smile here )

And as a 911, a visual branding shell, everyone knew what it was.

Exactly, and you could open the door, you could see it, even hear it, sometimes you could even smell it and, I mean, the little things. Those characteristic openings in the rear, they were not created on purpose in the beginning; we simply got scared that the flywheel would run too hot, so we put some oil coolers in there, but then we didn’t need it anymore because we knew how to run with it, and that’s exactly something where I see similarities with technical progress in the early days with the 911. I have looked so many times at the 908 and 917, from that car to that car they figured out how it works.

Four years from the 906 to the 917, six cylinders, and to the 917 flat twelve and then the turbocharged 917/30. As a historical parallel to what the Hamster could have done from a performance point, you almost have your own 917-30 scenario, ‘Okay, you did all this, we’re outlawing the car, you’re finished.’ So they never let you get to that point.

Maybe, but you know the 917 was something that was actually playing inside the rules in a different way. The 917/30 was already a different issue because of turbocharging and not using high-capacity, normally aspirated engines like McLarens did. But it was so easy to kill it because nobody actually knew what to do about it, and so they simply said, ‘We don’t like it; its new to this world.’

Now we have Balance of Performance trying in essence to do the same thing.

You know, even if I really hate BoP, I don’t honestly believe that anybody wants to kill something specific. I think they don’t know exactly what kind of responsibility they carry when they make a decision. That’s the point. They have no clue, and sometimes they look at something and they say, ‘We don’t understand it. And because we don’t understand it, we penalize it.’ Because there is always one thing that is part of BoP and you cannot adjust it—the driver. It’s the human beings around the car, the engineer, the driver, the mechanics, and every time you make an adjustment to the car, you always take into consideration their performance. I mean, just look at our guys that race GT cars: They are not all the same. And when you take the guy A and make the BoP based on his performance in the car, you get another result compared to when you take the guy B or the guy C. It’s not big, but it can depend on the racetrack, and it depends a little bit on the daily performance. Take an amateur and compare to a professional. If you penalize the car based on the performance of a professional driver you hurt the amateurs that are paying the entire bill. This is wrong, and that’s why I don’t like it, as it never took properly into consideration that there are different car concepts.

When Porsche motorsport history is revisited, how do you want this chapter to be looked back on?

Let’s put it this way: There have been worse times.

I will rephrase the question to something more personal. What will you miss?

The daily contact with a lot of people I really like, and I have always appreciated working together with them. Some are already gone and have retired. I mean, there are definitely a handful of people I am so grateful and thankful for, that I have been allowed to know and work together with them, because I have learned so many things from them. And I hope to a certain degree that I gave something back to people like with the Junior program, supporting young talent whether it was engineer, mechanic or driver. And that I made some money for the company, specifically in days when it was difficult to do so.

Postscript: After Petit Le Mans

MORSE: We conducted most of this interview prior to the U.S. round of the WEC and then you were back for Petit at Road Atlanta and the final of the Tudor series. The 911 RSR did very well in the inaugural return of the factory-backed team and collected the hardware. This would seem to validate your decision to push for the participation of a U.S. team. You have held fast in your view that sports car championships cannot survive purely with factory teams, and the Falken team backed up that up with its second Petit win over manufacturer entries. Somewhat of a conundrum, isn’t it? As head of motorsport you want your team to win and yet you’re having to support the private entrants. 

KRISTEN: Just look at what happened two days after Petit: The Viper is out! It will be interesting to see the grid at Daytona. Regarding the second win in a row for Falken at Petit, I’m fine with it. I still believe in sportsmanship and equal specs for the cars. Falken did a great job with regards to tires after having a lot of trouble two or three years ago. The team did a perfect job, and the drivers ran a race without any mistakes. The #17 was the only car where all this fitted together 100 percent and not only 99.9 percent. So they deserved the victory!

The page has turned and another chapter begins for the company and you as an individual. Now that a few weeks have passed, any further reflection?

Yes, I have. But maybe it is too early to talk about it. I will keep my fingers crossed for all the guys who are the future of Porsche Motorsport. I wish them as much luck as I had, if not even more if they need it. They will have to work much harder, and the challenges will continue to grow. Personally I have to get used to not making a decision every other minute. I promise you, I will neither start writing history books nor will start reading them, but I will always enjoy talking with people like you about the more than two decades I had the honor to be part of what will soon become history.

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