Eddie Jordan has urged Toto Wolff to “stand up and be a man” about the Mercedes W14, after branding his style “weak management” back in 2016.
Appearing on the Formula For Success podcast, Jordan joined David Coulthard for a discussion about Toto Wolff’s management style, with Coulthard referring back to an interview from Abu Dhabi 2016 in which Jordan had labelled Wolff’s management style as “weak”.
Recounting the story as told by a podcast listener, Coulthard asked Jordan about the moment and said the Irishman’s approach had been “brave”, as Wolff laughed off the incident with Nico Rosberg having just won the Drivers’ Championship.
More recently, Jordan also criticised Wolff’s attitude towards Mercedes’ W14 design by saying criticism of the design personnel is “crass”.
“He’s the CEO, he’s the boss. The buck stops with him. This is happening under his watch,” Jordan said.
“To blame or criticise anybody in his design team is actually disingenuous. It’s really crass.”
Coulthard bluntly asked Jordan whether he still believes Mercedes have weak management and if this is one of the reasons Mercedes are no longer the standard setters in F1.
Eddie Jordan: Toto Wolff has to stand up and take it
“I love teasing Toto,” Jordan smiled.
“What is it about me and Toto? I love it because he just takes it and he should tell me to get stuffed sometimes! But I’d still do it though, nevertheless.”
“I think Toto is a really good addition to Formula 1. I think he has massive attributes. But I’ve been critical and, just to answer indirectly the question, I’ve been critical in the last couple of episodes of this [podcast] where he was critical of his designers and his engineers, and I’d say ‘Well, hang on a second’.”
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Referring back to his own time as a Formula 1 boss, operating the Jordan Grand Prix team between 1991 and 2005, Jordan joked about how he would have handled the situation Wolff finds himself in now with a less competitive F1 car.
“When I was the boss of Jordan, if the car was good, I took all the claim,” he quipped. “And of course, if the car was bad, you tried to put it on somebody else!
“But actually, you’ve got to stand up and take it. You’ve got to be a man, it happened under his watch. He’s the chief executive of the team. My message to Toto was that I would much prefer if he stood up and said ‘look, we have Mercedes are a team, will always be a team and we got this wrong’.”
Eddie Jordan: No, I don’t think Toto Wolff is weak
Jordan, who turned 75 years old two weeks ago, said Wolff is in a position to take the flak and shield those under him from criticism by telling the critics to ‘get stuffed’.
“Do I still think he’s weak? No. I don’t think he’s weak, but he certainly manages differently to how I would,” he said.
“I was kind of ruthless. And if there was flak going around, I would take it or I wanted to take it because I always wanted to safeguard the people who were maybe not quite as proficient at dodging bullets as I was.
“I could tell them all to go and get stuffed if I wanted to, and they kind of took it, whereas I think Toto is in the same position and he should tell these people to get stuffed if that’s what he needs to say.
“At this stage of his life, he should know and does know how to dodge bullets. That’s all I’ll say.
“But that’s not a form of weakness. That’s just a different style of management. I have a huge regard [for him].
“Look, this guy has won a million times more than what I’ve ever won. So how could I be critical of him? So well done, keep doing it. But I would love it if you could give that team a slightly better car, because we’re desperate!
“We need somebody to take it to Red Bull and, at the moment, no one can see that happening.”