Toto Wolff: “We need to protect ourselves from ourselves”

© Jiri Krenek for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

As the 2023 season approaches, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff explains what he will do to protect himself and his team, ‘from themselves’.

The 2023 Formula 1 season was supposed to consist of 24 races, but it was ultimately decided that the cancelled Chinese Grand Prix will not be replaced, so the final number of races is 23.

In an end-of-year interview with, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff says he will put certain measures in place to combat burnout due to Formula 1’s expanding calendar.

“We need to protect ourselves, and that’s not only me but the core of the racing team, in order to protect performance,” the Austrian said.

“We need to protect ourselves from ourselves. I can push through, each of us can push through and do 24 races, some of us easier than others because we travel better.

“For most of our mechanics, engineers, and marketing people, the travelling is much more stressful, so therefore, there needs to be some sort of rotation.

“What I will do is put in a hard stop as to how many races each and everyone can do, and you can’t go above it because we need to be protected from ourselves.”

Asked what he thinks the “hard stop” would be, Wolff said:

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“It’s something we need to discuss in the team, what is the right amount, what is best for the team. There are going to be more weekends for others and less for some, so it’s a work in progress.”

Wolff then explained how he felt when he worked remotely during the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix.

“For Japan, the experiment was one I didn’t like at all because you are sitting in the dark at home with the whole set-up, you can’t see people, you’re out of sync with real life at home so I’d rather travel.

“But this experiment is something that helps me to regenerate. In my office in my apartment, I have the full set-up – intercom, all the data channels, and I have the live feed where I can interact with the team as if I was there.

“Is it the same quality? Definitely not, because I am not looking into people’s eyes. I don’t see the cars.

“There was a situation where I asked Bradley [Lord, head of communications] and James [Vowles, chief strategist and new Williams team principal] why we were delaying to exit, and there was work on the rear wing being done, so I didn’t see that.

“And it’s definitely not the same quality of human interaction as when I’m there,” the Austrian concluded.

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