Wolff: ‘Many team bosses that are one-trick ponies’

Michelle Foster

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Toto Wolff has called his rival team bosses “one-trick ponies” who only know how to run their F1 teams well with no thought to the bigger picture.

This year’s championship and the arrival of the new generation of ground effect aerodynamic cars has seen Mercedes fall off their perch.

No longer the team to beat, the Brackley squad has in fact yet to secure a first grand prix win of the season.

Mercedes’ biggest problem has been the W13’s porpoising, the bouncing not only hurting the team out on track but also in development as they have had to focus on minimising that over and above improving the car’s pace.

Porpoising and bouncing haven’t been the only buzz words bandied about this season, there is also ‘budget cap’ and ‘flexi-floors’ with Mercedes, at least they believe, coming off second best in both of those.

While the cap was eventually increased based on inflation, Wolff feels the 3% wasn’t enough, while he also reckons Mercedes’ rivals, namely Red Bull and Ferrari, have been delving in the grey areas of the regulations.

Perhaps he is still smarting over those, accusing his rival bosses of only doing what’s best for their teams.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff walks up the stairs, with the team logo in the background. Canada, June 2022.

“There are many [team principals] now in our sport that are just one-trick ponies that run teams very well, there’s no two ways about it, but I think you need to have an ulterior focus in what you do,” Wolff said in an interview with Square Mile.

“I believe that you can only do well when you’re able to put your own role, your own team, and the sport into the perspective of the wider world.

“I think that my 20-year background in finance has helped me to not only develop myself but also shape the team into the commercial operation that it is today. But I’m still learning. I’m 49 plus one, and I wonder where that trajectory takes me in the future.”

But while Mercedes are yet to get off the mark there have been signs of improvement of late.

Lewis Hamilton has gone on a run of three successive podium finishes and in two of those races was in contention for the victory while George Russell has been top-five in all but one grand prix.

It begs the question will Mercedes make it a three-way fight before the end of the season.

Wolff replied: “I don’t think this [car] concept is going to be miraculously one second ahead of everybody at the end of the season, but I think we can deem ourselves successful if we have caught up.

“Fundamentally, the field is going to come back together with diminishing returns – in this business that’s always been the case – so it’s going to be a three-way fight or maybe more teams vying for victory by the end of the season.”