Toto Wolff says Mercedes lost “a rational voice” when Niki Lauda passed away, adding the Austrian’s perspective would help in the coronavirus crisis.
After sharing his thoughts on Mercedes’ former non-executive chairman Niki Lauda on the one-year anniversary of his death, Team Principal Toto Wolff opened up to Germany’s Bild newspaper about how much the Austrian meant to the team.
“The more the time passes, the more I realise how much I miss him,” said Wolff.
“When you are on the Formula 1 hamster wheel, there is little time to pause and reflect, but in these days it has become clear to me where I miss him personally. I miss him as a friend, a sparring partner and as an advisor.
“I think Niki would have been a very important voice of reason in the corona crisis. He is definitely missing.
“A rational voice was lost for the team. Niki’s mere presence gave the team strength. He was our foreign minister, he got along well with every team and was a little bit above things.
“He was not always in the direct fight but was able to find a good consensus with the key players. That was one of his strengths.”
Wolff again reiterated how much he believes Lauda’s voice would have helped in the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
“As a person in the high risk category, his voice would have been heard very strongly. He surely would have represented the golden middle ground.”
Lauda’s position of non-executive chairman at Mercedes has since been filled by Markus Schafer. While Wolff praises Schafer, he says he is in a completely different position than the one Lauda was in.
“Niki filled the post exceptionally – it was his full-time job. Markus is turning in a much larger wheel and facing a revolution in the automotive sector, so the priorities are different.
“He is a really important part of the team as a guide and a listener, while Niki was a racing driver through and through.
“But Markus is also a very big support for us in difficult times in Formula 1,” concluded the Austrian.
Source: Bild newspaper