Wolff: I’m not motor racing’s ‘Special One’

Date published: November 11 2018

Toto Wolff: I'm not motor racing's 'Special One'

Despite knocking on the door of five doubles in five years, Toto Wolff has been quick to rubbish claims that he is Formula 1’s ‘Special One’.

The Austrian has been at the helm throughout Mercedes’ run of championship successes, and could add another to his tally this Sunday in Brazil.

Mercedes are closing in on the Constructors’ Championship and only need a double podium at Interlagos to secure this year’s championship double.

Should they do so that will be five on the trot equalling Ferrari’s run in the early 2000s with Michael Schumacher.

But don’t call Wolff the ‘Special One’.

“The downfall of any leader in a sport’s team is when he gets carried away with his own ego,” he told the Daily Telegraph.

“You have seen in football that if you start to think you are the ‘Special One’, or that you are better than the others, that is the moment when you will be beaten.

“Humility is a super-important factor in all of our lives, and I try to remind myself every evening in front of the mirror, just calm down.”

But while Wolff is receiving the plaudits for Mercedes’ success, it hasn’t always been an easy ride for the Austrian especially when it comes to the team’s star driver, Lewis Hamilton.

The Brit has in the past been criticised for his Hollywood social life, some saying that means his focus is not firmly on Formula 1.

Added to that Hamilton doesn’t always play the PR game with a collection of Ferraris in his garage and the recent launch of his own fashion range.

He, however, has five World titles to his name.

“At the start it was very difficult,” Wolff added. “Some of my marketing colleagues couldn’t comprehend that Lewis was being photographed with his Ferrari in Los Angeles, or that he was wearing different brands to ones that sponsored Mercedes.

“For me, it always came down to the performance level on track, and as long as he did that, he can lead the life he wants to live.

“When he flies around the world, or when he works on his music, I know that it is best for the team because it makes him perform well.

“Some drivers are into meditation, but Lewis follows his hobbies to take his mind off racing, which releases the stress, and increases his level of happiness.

“The best example of that was Singapore. He flew to Shanghai to launch his fashion collection, then to New York for an evening with Tommy Hilfiger, before he went back to Europe for a friend’s wedding, and rocked up at the race.

“In the past, people would say ‘how can you allow that?’ And that question was certainly being asked before the race, but then bang, he was six tenths faster than Sebastian [Vettel] in qualifying, and he controlled the race from there.”

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