Why Wolff’s headphones felt force of Baku anger

Jon Wilde
Toto Wolff, Mercedes

Toto Wolff "often" thought of leaving Formula 1 in 2020.

Mike Elliott has opened up on the visible frustration being felt at Mercedes as they fall behind Red Bull in the World Championship fight.

Angry reactions from Toto Wolff as he watches races in the Mercedes garage are not a new phenomenon, and there was another after the restart of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

As Lewis Hamilton locked up at Turn 1 and went up the escape road, costing him all chance of victory and even any points, team principal Wolff shouted “no, no, no” and looked to be at the point of tearing his hair out.

His headphones almost copped for it too. He grabbed them from his head, nearly snapping them and almost threw them down, before giving them a slightly softer landing than had first looked likely.

In Mercedes’ post-race debrief, responding to a direct question about the headphones, technology director Elliott – who will soon take over from James Allison as the team’s technical director – said such reactions simply reflect the passion to succeed that permeates through the seven-time World Champions’ ranks.

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“The sort of emotion you saw from Toto is what we all feel,” said Elliott. “We all go through that same emotional roller-coaster when we are following the race and we all sort of feel that really strong sense of emotion when things don’t go to plan.

“You can see that at the race track when you watch the TV footage. You know, when something goes wrong at the track, those guys really feel it – you can see it in their body language, you can see it in the look on their faces, we have the same thing in the factory.

“If you look at the aerodynamicists or the designers, if the chassis is not the quickest chassis that weekend, those guys feel it and they push themselves.

“It’s the same for our teammates at HPP, they also feel it if we have an issue with a power-unit or we’ve just, for whatever reason, lost out with the power-unit.

“I could go on and talk about all the parts of the team. The reality is it’s very similar for all of us – we really want to do the best for the team, for our fans and most importantly for each other.

“I’m just lucky that I’m standing here in front of the camera a few days later and my emotions have calmed down.”

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