Ferrari’s implosion should not be blamed on Sergio Marchionne and the pressure he applied on the team, although Toto Wolff says Mercedes would rather operate in a different manner.
As Ferrari faltered in their challenge last season, president Marchionne became more vocal in his criticism of the team.
He told the media he was “angry” over “ugly” reliability issues, called Kimi Raikkonen a “laggard” and warned Sebastian Vettel that he was given a “great car” in 2017 so “from now on, it’s down to him.”
But despite his hard-fitting, Wolff says Marchionne’s management style cannot be blamed for Ferrari’s failure to win the title.
“Pressure can make a diamond, but pressure can also make a pipe burst,” he told Autosport.
“Sergio Marchionne is one of the most successful businessmen that I have ever met, and somebody that has one of the sharpest minds I have ever seen operating.
“So far it [Ferrari’s style] works for him and I don’t think you can reduce Ferrari’s 2017 season, or the end of the 2017 season campaign, to pressure that was applied.
“I think this is oversimplification.”
But, having said that, the Mercedes motorsport boss chooses to operate in a different manner.
“We encourage everybody in the organisation to speak up,” he added.
“We have a motto that is ‘see it, say it, fix it’ which means that you have to create a safe environment for everybody to speak up.
“You need to be able to improve as a part of the team.
“What we try to do from the very senior leadership is to blame the problem and not the individual.
“It is easy to say ‘well, that is what we do’. As a matter of fact it is in human nature to try to identify a guilty person, it is easy because it is a pressure release – his fault.
“We’re working really hard on not doing that because the moment you do that people close up like a shell and you won’t see any innovation, you won’t see any risk taking.
“This is what we want – we are in a risk-taking business, an innovation business.”