Toto Wolff to be sidelined for Japanese Grand Prix following surgery

Henry Valantine
Toto Wolff smiling.

Toto Wolff smiles as he makes his way through the F1 paddock.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff is set to miss the Japanese Grand Prix later this month, as he is due to undergo surgery in the week leading up to the event at Suzuka.

The Mercedes team boss is believed to be undergoing a procedure on his knee in the days building up to the Japanese Grand Prix, which takes place from 22nd-24th September.

The team have since confirmed he will be absent from the race later this month, and is due to be operated on after the Singapore Grand Prix – with Wolff set to return to the paddock at the following race weekend in Qatar in October.

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Mercedes’ driver development director and former F1 driver Jérome D’Ambrosio has been seen on Wolff’s shoulder at multiple races this season, and the team boss recently confirmed that he would be the one to step up in his absence if ever he was needed.

D’Ambrosio has seen his career blossom away from the circuit after stepping out of the cockpit, taking on a role as deputy team principal with Venturi in Formula E in 2020, before being promoted to the top job in late 2021.

He moved to Mercedes at the beginning of 2023 as driver development director, overseeing the team’s young talent in various junior categories, and has been praised by Wolff for how he has operated so far.

“When I am absent on a race weekend, Jérome will replace me,” Wolff told Auto Hebdo back in August. “It is true that in 11 years it has only happened three times, but it is a situation that we have to anticipate.

“Now, he has to gain credibility within the team and in the paddock, he still has time, but in case I can’t be there, he will be in my place. recommends

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“Jérôme did a very good job last year with his role at Venturi. A small structure, which obviously has nothing to do with ours, which still has 2,500 people.

“However, he is involved and I must even say that half of his interventions during the grands prix are sensible.

“I assure you that this is already a remarkable score, James Allison often told me that I said 50 percent intelligent things, and 50 percent nonsense.

“More seriously, you have to give him time, but I have the impression that he has the right profile to take on this role.”

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