Toto Wolff: Then the protective instinct comes up


Toto Wolff explains how he won the Mercedes team over and prepared for success. A look in the eye is enough for new employees.

Toto Wolff can still remember it well when he gave his inaugural address to the Mercedes workforce in 2013. At that time he was the successor to Norbert Haug and did what you do as a new managerial figure – swear the team to new tasks.

The success was mixed, because his words were not well received everywhere. “When the last technician left the room, he walked past me and said: ‘We have heard that before.’”, Remembers Wolff in the FAZ.

Wolff knows: “All that talk is nice, but it’s all about action.” This is the only way to win people, to win people’s trust and also their loyalty, says the Austrian.

Wolff: “That is very important, it binds you. We are a safety net. If one of us experiences a difficult situation, be it personal or professional, then I try to be the very first to support him ».

An example: Baku 2017, when Sebastian Vettel rammed Lewis Hamilton, the headrest loosened. A part that a mechanic uses. Hamilton therefore had to pit, the headrest was fixed and the Brit finished eighth.

“Then I was asked in front of TV cameras how it can be to lose a race win because of that, who was responsible for it? That’s what I went against. When someone tries to focus on one person, I get a protective instinct. And I feel that for the entire team, ”said Wolff.

With the troop he celebrated the eighth constructors’ title in a row in 2021. A tight-knit team – and one look in the eyes is enough for Wolff to find out whether someone is a good fit for Mercedes.
Wolff, that’s enough. ”I can assess whether the personality is right on the basis of a single conversation. And because I’ve been in motorsport for thirty years, in and outside of the car, I can tell if someone is bullshitted. And then that doesn’t suit us. “

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