Wolff opens up on mental health issues in 2020

Mark Scott
James Allison Toto Wolff Mercedes

James Allison Toto Wolff Mercedes

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has spoken of the support he received from within his own team after a mentally challenging 2020 campaign.

His own future, as well as the futures of the Mercedes team in Formula 1 and star driver Lewis Hamilton, were all under scrutiny during a year where life as we usually know it came to a stop due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Wolff said it was during this time period where he seriously questioned his own abilities and whether he wanted to continue leading Mercedes in Formula 1.

Toto Wolff Mercedes
Toto Wolff

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“Like many other people, I struggle from mental health issues and I have a great team,” Wolff said at a LinkedIn forum with the Said Business School, as quoted by GPFans.

“[By the way] this is not a universal ‘I am pathologically ill’.

“It is more that I acknowledge that all the best people I have worked with, they have down time and if they have a great group around them, the group will carry the ball.

“For me, that was last year. Covid came and I didn’t really know if I wanted to continue in the sport, whether I was a one-trick pony or whether finance was where I wanted to come back.

“For months, I couldn’t find an answer to my question and then obviously you are not your best self.

“In order to protect the organisation, in order to create the best possible framework, you need to look after yourself.”

Wolff went on to add that he received reassurance and support from the Mercedes team he manages, especially from technical director James Allison.

He said: “This is something my technical director used when I said ‘I am just not the best me and I will come back in a few days’.

“He said ‘Take all the time because when you come back, you need to sprinkle your magic dust. If you don’t feel like you can at the moment then that is okay, we will carry the ball’.

“That is something that I found really reassuring and showed the organisation that we have all been a part of is really strong and that if you need to put yourself out for a moment, someone else is going to carry the ball.”

Wolff ultimately decided to continue in his role at Mercedes and become a third-part equal co-owner in the process alongside Mercedes parent company Daimler and chemical giant Ineos.

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