Toto Wolff: “I couldn’t believe this was the Mercedes F1 Team”

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Toto Wolff says the Mercedes Formula 1 Team “didn’t look like a Formula 1 team at all” when he became the team’s executive director in 2013.

In 2013 Toto Wolff moved from Williams, where he served as executive director, to Mercedes where he took over the day-to-day operation of the team. Just a year prior Mercedes finished fifth in the Constructors’ Championship. On the High Performance Podcast Wolff explains he wasn’t impressed with the state of the team when he arrived.

“When I walked in for the first time, it wasn’t exactly how I wanted it to be,” the Austrian said.

“I came in, sat down at the reception and noticed that it didn’t look like a Formula 1 team at all.

“There was a week-old Daily Mail on the table with cups of dried coffee by it. I couldn’t believe this was the Mercedes Formula 1 Team.”

Wolff says it was immediately clear that the team needed an ‘attitude adjustment’.

“It shows a certain attitude, an eye for, or a lack of it, for details. And details are important in a high-tech world.

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“Many might ignore those little things, because they are not about data or aerodynamics, let alone making a car faster.

“But it does show the values ​​of a team. If we appreciate the eye for details, then we as a team automatically capture the momentum. And that was my first experience with Mercedes.”

The new team boss took it upon himself to try and instill a new set of “values”. On the podcast he explained which values the thinks are the most important.

“Most important is character traits – integrity, loyalty, respect for the individual, attention to detail, fanatical obsession with what you do.

“I believe that all of us can increase each other’s level and we just need somebody coming in and raising the bar and everybody else will try to achieve that.

“But what is the differentiator? The differentiator is all those values that I could talk [about] for a long time that lead also to the comradery with the team – that we are empowering, that we blame the problem, that we communicate around hierarchies in terms of quickly solving the problem, Mercedes Sport that gives us unconditional support and no politics.

“Politics you can do outside to make things go towards your direction. No allowance for politics around the team.

“No place for dickheads, the ‘all-black’ mentality,” concluded Wolff.

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