F1’s billionaire team boss Toto Wolff lands new Harvard Business School role

·2-min read
Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff. Zandvoort September 2022. Credit: Alamy
Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff. Zandvoort September 2022. Credit: Alamy

Mercedes principal, and Harvard’s newest Executive Fellow Toto Wolff will look to shape the leaders of tomorrow when he teaches at Harvard Business School.

The Austrian investor has become one of the most recognisable figures anywhere in the world of Formula 1 as the team principal and one-third owner of the Mercedes squad.

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Having started his F1 journey with the purchase of shares in Williams, Wolff went on to invest in a Mercedes team which re-wrote F1’s history books under Wolff with a string of eight Constructors’ titles in a row from 2014-2021, plus seven Drivers’ crowns in that time.

And with Formula 1’s popularity now at an all-time high, a surge largely originating from the success of Netflix’s hit docuseries Drive to Survive, it has helped bring a new level of value to the current 10 teams, with Wolff recently joining Forbes’ list of world billionaires for the first time.

Now, Wolff will look to use all of his experience to help the aspiring leaders of tomorrow, having been appointed an Executive Fellow at the Harvard Business School, where he will also be a guest lecturer alongside Professor Anita Elberse.

Leadership, organisational culture and personal effectiveness are the areas of expertise which it is anticipated Wolff will be able to offer great insight for the students, as from January 2024, Wolff works alongside Elberse to deliver the ‘Mercedes F1: Leading a High-Performance Team’ course to first and second-year MBA students.

The door between Mercedes F1 and Harvard is not a new one to open though, as prior to this professor Elberse has been behind-the-scenes at Mercedes analysing their operation at race weekends.

This ‘Toto Wolff and the Mercedes Formula One Team’ case study has since been taught, with Wolff’s involvement, to MBA students, while Wolff’s leadership philosophy also went into Elberse’s ‘Number One in Formula One’ Harvard Business Review article designed to help managers progress.

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“I feel very honoured and privileged to continue working with the incredibly bright young minds at Harvard,” said Wolff.

“Whenever I step on campus, I am inspired by the students’ curiosity and ambition, and I leave energised by the special learning environment they create together with the brilliant faculty.”

Wolff is also putting all of his leadership skills to use in the effort to return Mercedes to winning ways in the world of Formula 1.

F1 2023 has started with a W14 challenger which, like its predecessor, is not worthy of returning Mercedes to the title picture where they crave to be.

A new-look W14 is expected to arrive for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola, as Mercedes head in a different direction in pursuit of runaway leaders Red Bull.


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