Wolff reflects on his own ‘inner conflict’ in 2020

Ben Johnston
Toto Wolff at the Sao Paulo GP. Interlagos November 2021.

Toto Wolff with a serious expression at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix. Interlagos November 2021.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has revealed that during the 2020 Formula 1 season he had “inner conflict” and was considering leaving the team and the sport.

Wolff has been with Mercedes since 2013 having joined from Williams.

The Austrian has led the team to eight consecutive Constructors’ World Championships, dominating the hybrid era of Formula 1 from 2014-to 2021, working very closely with non-executive chairman and three-time World Champion Niki Lauda who sadly passed away in 2019.

At the time of Lauda’s death at the age of 70, Wolff admitted to finding it tough not being able to speak to his countryman about things that were going on inside the team.

Speaking to Frankfurter Allgemeine about the mental struggles he faced in 2020, he said: “It was ten months that were very difficult for me – also mentally, I gave everything for almost eight years and felt burnt out to a certain extent.

“In addition, my contract was due to expire and I could have sold my shares. All this led to an inner conflict: do I want to stay in Formula 1? Can I still make my contribution? Or can someone else do the job better?”

Wolff is not only involved with Mercedes in Formula 1 but he is also a partner with the company in the Mercedes EQ Formula E team.

The Austrian concluded by saying: “I spent almost a year thinking about that, although ‘thinking about it’ is still a rather positive expression. It was a great deal of self-reflection, also because of the pressure I felt.

“In the end I chose Mercedes and Formula 1, I have found my place here.”


The Mercedes team will launch their 2021 Formula 1 car, the W13 on 18 February, five days before pre-season testing gets underway in Spain.


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