Toto Wolff discusses when he would ‘pass the baton on’ to someone else at Mercedes
Toto Wolff says he has no desire to walk away from Mercedes now but says he will not have a problem passing the baton on some day.
Wolff is the third-longest serving team principal on the current grid behind only Red Bull’s Christian Horner and AlphaTauri’s Franz Tost but this will undoubtedly be the hardest moment of his Mercedes career so far.
Any hopes Mercedes’ 2022 season would be a blip in an otherwise stellar few years was proven too optimistic first in Bahrain and then in Saudi Arabia with the team again struggling to find performance.
As such, it is natural to think if Wolff may choose to walk away having been at the Silver Arrows for a decade but he said that thought has never once crossed my mind.
“We’ve been through all the ups and downs and there’s not a millimetre of doubt,” Wolff said as per Speedweek.com.
“There’s so much support from them to get us back on track. We couldn’t ask for better support,” the Austrian added.
“I really enjoy being the team leader of this team. I think I can make my contribution.
“But if one day I come to that conclusion – or if people close to me tell me I’m not contributing – then I’ll consider passing the baton to someone else. I wouldn’t be ashamed of that.
“Then I would criticise from the sidelines, from a TV screen, and know better than everyone else. But until then I think I’ll keep enjoying it.”
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The 2022 season was not the finest year in Mercedes’ history but any questions that Wolff is not the right man to lead them back to glory seems fanciful.
In much the same way that Red Bull has been built in the image of Horner, you can see Wolff’s fingerprints all over the Brackley team.
The 51-year-old, who lost his father to illness at a young age, has learnt to do things the hard way to strive for perfection and that is a mindset shared by anyone who works for Mercedes.
While losing a talent like Lewis Hamilton would no doubt have an impact on the team, you get the sense that losing Wolff would be far more influential on the team’s set up and ethos.
Whether James Vowles is or is not being trained to become Wolff’s successor is another topic of debate, but Wolff’s presence at Mercedes is just as vital now as it was when they were enjoying their golden period.
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