Wolff: Nobody better to ‘take the baton’ yet

Date published: December 29 2020

Toto Wolff

Toto Wolff will hand over the baton of being Mercedes team principal when the right person is available, but that has not happened yet.

The Austrian has signed a new three-year-deal to remain team principal and CEO of the Mercedes Formula 1 team, although he also made a ‘lifetime commitment’ to the Silver Arrows by becoming equal owner of the team alongside Daimler and INEOS.

But as for his team principal duties, Wolff has made it clear he will relinquish them when he finds the right person to replace him, but that is yet to happen.

“For me, this year was very important. The first half of the year, with not going to the overseas races, allowed me to reflect a lot on the future,” said Wolff, quoted by¬†GPFans.

“I never envisaged leaving the team from a shareholding point of view, but I’d always said that as a team principal you have a certain shelf life, you need to contribute.

“If that was ever the case that I felt there was someone who could do a better job then I would hand the baton over. This is not yet the case.”

Wolff said it is his responsibility to decide his successor, but the successful candidate would have far more to contend with than just heading Mercedes’ racing team.

“You need to cover the racing side as well as the commercial and political side and that’s why we’ve agreed I’m staying on in the role I enjoy, in being team principal,” he added.

“But for the future of the team, and the sustainability and growth of the team, from my perspective it is about looking into the future, who eventually could take over from me as team principal one day, and then me transitioning into a more corporate role as a chief executive officer or executive chairman.

“When that will happen I don’t know. But [Sir] Jim [Ratcliffe, INEOS chairman] Ola and I are in agreement that it’s my duty to define who could do this role in the future.

“It’s actually a total alignment of interests between the three of us. We wouldn’t want to have someone running the team that is not efficient and successful.”

The final piece of contract-related business left for Mercedes before the 2021 campaign is to agree a new deal with seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton, but no official confirmation has yet been made.

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