Niki Lauda to focus on Mercedes F1

BERLIN -- Germany's second-biggest airline, Air Berlin PLC, says Niki Lauda has left the company's board to devote more time to his new role with the Mercedes Formula One team.

The three-time Formula One world champion became a non-executive director at Air Berlin, which integrated his Vienna-based airline, Niki, in late 2011.

Lauda is joining the Mercedes team as the non-executive chairman of its board of directors. The team's drivers for 2013 are Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

Air Berlin said Thursday that Lauda will be replaced on its board by Austin Reid, a former chief executive of British airline bmi, or British Midland.