Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has had a difficult season as Mercedes continue to slow down with the pace. Red Bull and Ferrari have been the leading teams this season but Wolff has vowed to “work flat out to close the gap”. Speaking about last week’s race in Baku, the Austrian said: “We’ve moved away from midfield again in terms of pace, but we’re a big gap to the top two teams. “We’re working flat out to close this gap, but with an underperforming package, I loved seeing the team struggle to pull together and give us the best possible outcome with the tools at our disposal.
“This spirit will bring us back to the top.”
Wolff is used to dominating the sport – Mercedes has won the constructors’ title every year since 2014.
Despite this, Wolff said in January that at one point he considered leaving F1 during the 2020 season.
He said: “It was ten months that was very difficult for me. Mentally, too, I gave my all for almost eight years and felt burned out to a certain extent.
“In addition, my contract expired and I could have sold my shares. All of this led to an inner conflict: ‘Do I want to stay in Formula 1? Can I still make my contribution? Or can someone else do the job.’ better?
“I’ve spent almost a year thinking about it, although ‘thinking about it’ is still a rather positive expression. It was a great self-reflection, also because of the pressure I felt.
“In the end I chose Mercedes and Formula 1, I found my place here.”
In June 2021, Wolff also spoke about the dilemma in a conversation with ESPN.
When asked if he was considering leaving the sport, Wolff said: “Often.
“Last year I really beat myself up trying to decide whether I wanted to go back into finance and have a hedge fund or continue with my private investment company or stay in motorsport.
“In the end, racing won.”
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When asked what made him stay, he added: “I think it’s the sheer fact that the timer never lies. You always have a benchmark.
“New challenges are coming, which will develop the organization and the team into the next generation.
“It’s about diversifying the business without distracting from racing – as a company we’re growing at a tremendous rate.
“So the fact of the matter is that we’re a sports franchise, there’s only ten in a global sport spectacular, and with a company that’s Mercedes, it’s going to have $550 million to $600 million in revenue ($419 to 457 million pounds). We’re not small companies anymore.
“Nevertheless, it depends on the lap time, always on the stopwatch.”
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There has even been speculation at times that Wolff could step down from his role at Mercedes to take on a role as CEO of F1.
The Austrian even held initial talks with F1 owners Liberty Media through its CEO Greg Maffei but ultimately decided against it, pointing out in an interview with F1 in 2020 that “it wouldn’t have gone anywhere anyway because [Mercedes’ rivals] Ferrari would not have accepted that.”
Eventually the job was handed over to former Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali.
Wolff added: “The job appeals to everyone, but most of all I think Stefano is the better CEO for such a company.
“He was CEO of Lamborghini, ran Scuderia Ferrari and of course his role at Audi and he’s fantastic for that role.
“I enjoy being a co-partner and co-owner of the franchise team and diversifying into many other interesting areas. So I don’t regret it at all.
“I think Greg Maffei made absolutely the right decision in choosing Stefano and he’s better for the job than I am.”