Toto Wolff: How the Mercedes F1 boss built his billion-dollar fortune

Henry Valantine
Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff. Zandvoort September 2022.

Toto Wolff wears a jumper around his neck in the paddock. Zandvoort September 2022.

Mercedes team principal and CEO, Toto Wolff is one of the most influential figures in modern Formula 1, and as of April 2023, he was classified as a billionaire for the first time by prominent business magazine, Forbes.

The Mercedes boss not only runs the team on a day-to-day basis, but he also owns a 33% share of the Formula 1 operation, split equally with Mercedes’ parent company, Daimler AG, and chemical company INEOS – which is also a ‘principal partner’ of the team.

But prior to his time in Formula 1, Wolff has also been a racing driver and an investor, with his motorsport and financial background playing directly into his current career.

Here is a closer look at Wolff’s life and career to date.

Toto Wolff: Life before F1

Toto Wolff was born in Vienna in 1972 and began his own motorsport career in the Austrian Formula Ford Championship aged 20, before competing in the German and Austrian Formula Ford categories in the 1993 and 1994 seasons.

Wolff won the 24 Hours Nurburgring in his class in 1994, before later turning his attention to GT racing in the early 2000s alongside his career as a venture capital investor.

He competed in the FIA GT and Italian GT Championships, as well as the Austrian Rally Championship, before taking victory at the Dubai 24 Hours in 2006 – where one of his team-mates was former Formula 1 driver, Hans-Joachim Stuck.

Toto Wolff: Buys shares in Williams

In 2009, Wolff made his way into Formula 1 when he bought a 16% stake in the Williams team, where he joined its board of directors and subsequently became executive director.

He was at the team for their last race win to date, when Pastor Maldonado took the chequered flag in Barcelona in 2012, before he was approached by Mercedes and asked to lead their Formula 1 team.

Wolff initially declined due to the stake he held in Williams, but a deal was eventually struck and he made the move to Mercedes in time for the 2013 season.

Wolff still held a smaller 5% stake in Williams as of June 2020, but his portion of the team was sold during their buyout by investment firm Dorilton Capital.

Toto Wolff: Joining Mercedes and building a dynasty

A part of Wolff’s move to Mercedes included him purchasing a stake in the team, with the Austrian buying 30% of the team’s shares and being given overall control of the day-to-day running of the Silver Arrows.

The start of the turbo hybrid era of regulations in 2014 was a sweeping change to how Formula 1 would operate, and offered much more of a ‘blank slate’ for the teams to work from for their cars moving forward.

And it was the Wolff-led Mercedes which would take full advantage, with their era of dominance being one that is seldom seen in Formula 1 – with eight consecutive Constructors’ Championships from 2014 to 2021 inclusive and seven Drivers’ titles in a row between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg – both all-time Formula 1 records for consecutive championships, and winning more than half of all the races that took place in that time.

But the changes have gone further than what is on track, with the team’s staff headcount having doubled from 650 people in 2013 to around 1,300 in 2022, and annual turnover having more than doubled from just under $200m per year in 2013 to around $450m in 2022.

Toto Wolff: Investments in other business ventures

Outside of motorsport, Wolff set up two investment firms in 1998 and 2004 respectively, named Marchfifteen and Marchsixteen, which focus on strategic investment ventures in medium-sized and listed industrial companies, which have included a 49% purchase of HWA AG, which manufactures parts for Mercedes in their AMG performance division and ran the Mercedes DTM team.

Wolff also co-owns a sports management company with two-time Formula 1 World Champion, Mika Hakkinen, which sees him represent clients such as Valtteri Bottas and former DTM champion, Bruno Spengler.

Wolff was also director and CEO of the Mercedes EQ Formula E team, before they pulled out of the series at the end of 2022 and the running of the team was taken over by McLaren for 2023 onwards.

Toto Wolff net worth: How much is the Mercedes F1 boss worth?

As of April 2023, Wolff was listed on business magazine Forbes’ list of Sports Billionaires for the first time, having crossed the reported $1billion threshold of his reported total net worth. This grew even further in 2024 to a reported $1.6bn (£1.27bn), as a result of Mercedes’ continued growth as a company.

The significant growth in the value of his investment in Mercedes over time will be a big factor behind Wolff’s increased net worth over time, with his initial 30% stake in the team bought for around $30m at the time of his arrival, and the annual turnover of the team having more than doubled in the years since his arrival to around $450m [£360m] in 2022.

Alongside his personal wealth, salary and other business investments, his time at Mercedes has increased Wolff’s net worth significantly, and has made him one of the wealthiest people in Formula 1.

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Toto Wolff wife and children

Wolff has been married to his wife, Susie, since 2011, herself a high-profile figure in motorsport in her own right – having been a test driver for Williams for four years, taking part in free practice at four Formula 1 weekends in 2014 and 2015 and having been a mainstay on the grid in DTM beforehand.

Susie Wolff was also the first ever female driver to compete at the star-studded Race of Champions in 2014, before retiring from driving in 2015 and taking on a variety of roles in motorsport.

This includes an ambassadorial role at Mercedes, as well as launching the Dare to be Different campaign in early 2016, a non-profit organisation aimed at increasing participation in motorsport for school girls aged 8-14 in conjunction with the Motor Sports Association, which later joined forces with the FIA’s Girls on Track campaign, which holds similar objectives.

She became team principal and later CEO of Venturi Racing in Formula E from 2018 until 2022, before being appointed to the role of managing director of the all-female F1 Academy feeder series at the beginning of 2023, ahead of its debut season.

Toto and Susie Wolff have one child together, Jack, who was born in 2017, while Toto Wolff has two other children from a previous marriage.

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