Hours after Stefano Domenicali was confirmed as F1’s new CEO, Toto Wolff says he never applied for the job because “Ferrari wouldn’t have accepted that”.
After months of speculation about who would succeed Chase Carey as Formula 1 chief, the sport announced on Friday that former Ferrari team boss Domenicali had been handed the position.
The Italian will take over on 1 January 2021.
The announcement brought to an end rumours that Wolff was being lined up for the job.
Having successfully guided Mercedes to six successive championship doubles, many believed Wolff would be the best man to lead the sport into a new era.
Wolff, though, says he never wanted the job.
“No. I didn’t,” the Mercedes motorsport boss told Autosport.
“I think everybody knows that there were some initial discussions with Greg, and it never went anywhere.
“We get on well. I respect Greg Maffei a lot for what he has achieved.
“But I love where I am, and I found out that I love the stopwatch so much, the competition and the racing, that where I am today, co-owner of the team with Mercedes, I have to pinch myself every single day.”
And even if he had wanted it, he reckons Ferrari would have blocked the move.
“At the end, it wouldn’t have gone anywhere anyway,” he added, “because Ferrari wouldn’t have accepted that.
“That’s OK, they have this right.
“I respect it, absolutely. I would probably have had the same thoughts. At the end, maybe a different decision, because you’ve got to have the best guy to run the sport.
“But I think they have the best guy today. Stefano is just the real deal.”
Mercedes’ reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton was quick to welcome Domenicali back into Formula 1.
Billing the Italian as one of the “nicest guys” he knows, he feels Formula 1 is in good hands.
“Amazing!” he told the official F1 website. “I know Stefano really well and he’s one of the nicest guys that I know.
“I don’t think they could have really chosen someone better to be honest, to replace some big shoes with Chase, who’s done an amazing job, and who’s always had such a great approach.
“Stefano, he’s got a great heart, good family and good morals, so the future’s positive.”
Follow all the action from the Russian Grand Prix with the PlanetF1 live centre