Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff says he misses former Mercedes Non-Executive Chairman Niki Lauda “mostly as a friend, but also as a confidant”.
Three-time Formula 1 champion Niki Lauda passed away in 2019 and his presence has been missed at Mercedes, but also in the paddock in general, ever since.
The loss might have hit Toto Wolff the hardest, as the two have been inseparable ever since Wolff joined Mercedes in January 2013. It’s been more than a year since his passing, but Wolff is feeling the loss more than ever.
“[I missed him] more than ever this year, because in 2019 I was almost in a state of shock that he had died and I just kept going,” explained the Austrian.
“I only really realised at the end of the year that my good friend was gone. My travelling buddy was gone and my confidant was gone.
“The structure we had was such a big part of my life – flying to races together, having our discussions, having dinner every single day.
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“He would leave the circuit at four or five [PM], then I’d turn up for dinner at 8PM and he would be there with his iPad saying he’d been sitting bored for an hour.
“He would leave for the circuit in the morning before any catering stuff was there, but he loved to work the first shift and I would take over the second shift…
“I truly miss him, mostly as a friend but also as a confidant.”
Wolff said many times that Lauda was a wonderful sounding board for him and provided him with a plethora of advice. His advice was missed in 2020.
“There have been situations this year where I’ve wished I could have had his opinion. But in a funny way, when I ask myself, ‘what would you have done, Niki?’ the answer comes to me immediately, because he was so straightforward.
“When I used to ask Niki about various situations he would always respond with such certainty: ‘I think you should do this…’”