Wolff preparing the path for successor at Mercedes

Michelle Foster
Toto Wolff on 2021 cars

Toto Wolff thinks the 2021 cars will start slower than the 2020 versions due to aero changes and harder tyres.

Toto Wolff has hinted that he’s ready to step down as team boss at Mercedes, but won’t do so until he is confident that the “very good” will continue under someone else’s leadership.

Wolff is out of contract with Mercedes at the end of this season, at least out of contract regarding his team boss role. He’s still a shareholder at the team.

The Austrian took up the reins in 2013 and has been instrumental in the team’s run of six – potentially seven – championship doubles.

However, of late Wolff has been speaking about handing over the baton to an as yet unnamed successor.

With Formula 1 looking at a possible 23-race calendar next season, Wolff reckons it is time for him to look at the next generation of leaders within the Mercedes ranks.

“The truth is that it’s taking a toll on all of us and I’ve always been of the opinion that you should never go from very good to good, because then somebody else should take the baton and run,” Wolff said.

“I still feel that I can make a contribution, I actually enjoy the race weekends a lot. And I’ve come to enjoy them more since lockdown. I just need to think how I would like to structure the team going forward.

“We had a great handover of responsibilities, whilst keeping the know-how and the senior leadership in the company, but also not creating a bottleneck for the young talent to come up.

“This is something which I find very interesting, and looking forward into the next few years, it would very much make me proud to see a team principal coming up, taking over from me and doing a better job than I could have done at that time. This is a really interesting project for me.

“I don’t feel that I will let the team down. I’m a shareholder and I will stay with the team, that is what we have agreed with Daimler, but maybe then in another function. Whether it is CEO, or chairman, we haven’t figured out yet.

“Daimler has very much given me the choice. But, before me transitioning into a new role, I need to make sure that somebody else is doing the 23 races and I can enjoy myself in front of a Zoom screen.”

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Toto Wolff

The 48-year-old, though, wouldn’t give a date for what the power balance would shift.

Asked if it could be as early as next season, he replied: “I’ve spent quite some time thinking about it, and also involving the leadership within MGP, and we haven’t identified the structure for the future.

“So, I can’t tell you whether it is a year, two or three. The main thing is not me, having had the toll of the racing, because I enjoy the competition. And as long as I enjoy the competition, I think I can contribute to the team success.

“But, whilst enjoying myself, I also need to make sure that there is a transition sometimes in the future, and I don’t know when that is because I haven’t identified the right person yet.”

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