Toto Wolff says his plan is to remain with Mercedes, although he doesn’t want to go “from great to good” and overstay his welcome.
Ever since news came out that Toto Wolff bought a stake in luxury car manufacturer Aston Martin, the media has been speculating about his possible exit from Mercedes.
The Austrian’s contract with the Mercedes runs out at the end of 2020, but on numerous occasions Wolff denied the rumours that he might leave to join Lawrence Stroll’s new Aston Martin F1 team in 2021.
At a recent media conference Toto Wolff further explained his status with Mercedes.
“Something I’m really proud of in our team is that we have always transitioned senior members of the team into different roles,” said the Austrian.
“We have brought up talent and the same applies to me. I’ve been lucky enough to be at the helm of Mercedes since early 2014, and with years that I wouldn’t want to miss.
“I really enjoyed the interaction and working with all of my friends at the F1 team and at Daimler, and this is something I wouldn’t want to miss.
“Nevertheless I need to question myself. I don’t want to be a team principal that goes from great to good without realising that he’s maybe not adding as much any more to the team as he did in the beginning.
“I still feel that I can add a lot, but of course I’m contemplating about my future. I’m in discussion with Ola [Källenius, Daimler chairman] about how that goes. It is not a simple employment contract, but it involves a shareholding.
“But we’re in the midst of the process in carving our joint future, and therefore I don’t want to stick to some particular wording, whether that’s team principal or managing director.
“And to be honest with you I haven’t taken any decision yet, because we haven’t even started racing. So all these agreements and discussions are happening as we speak.”
Regarding his stake in Aston Martin, Wolff once again explained the nature of the transaction.
“I have indeed bought a number of shares of Aston Martin as an investment, because I believe in the company and in their current strategy.
“Tobias Moers, the new MD, is a guy that I’ve known since a long time. And I believe that he can turn around this business.
“There’s a very strong group of shareholders that are backing Aston Martin today that will not let it down. And therefore I’ve decided to be part of that group.”
But Wolff is adamant this doesn’t change his status at Mercedes.
“My executive functions are unchanged. I’m at Mercedes, I’m the team principal and I am a shareholder. And it’s clear that when there is no other headlines out there, that the Aston Martin thing caused some waves.
“But I’m planning with Mercedes. I have the best intention to stay here. And that is unchanged.”
Rumours of a strained relationship with Daimler chairman Ola Källenius have increased speculation that Wolff might be on his way out, but he denies it. He went on to describe how his relationship with Källenius differs from the one he had with his predecessor Dieter Zetsche.
“[They are] two very different personalities, but with both of whom I have an excellent working relationship, and more than that, actually a friendship.
“With Ola, I had quite a laugh when these rumours came up then that there was some dysfunctionality in our relationship. We are on the phone many times every single week, and he’s very involved.
“He’s a very good sparring partner for myself that I wouldn’t [want to] miss, in the same way Dieter was,” concluded Wolff.