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How Wolff wants unloved W13 F1 car to remind Mercedes to be bold

Toto Wolff says the unloved Mercedes W13 Formula 1 car will be placed in the lobby area at the team’s Brackley factory to encourage staff to take bold decisions.

 Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13

At one stage last year Wolff suggested the 2022 car, which eventually won the Brazilian Grand Prix in the hands of George Russell, should be consigned to the “caves” under the Mercedes museum in Stuttgart.

But instead Wolff later thought about placing the car in the F1 team’s lobby as a reminder not to be complacent, but he now says the aim of putting it on show would be to encourage his staff to make brave choices and not fear failure.

“It's going to go in the lobby,” he said. “But I've changed my approach a little bit, because I wanted to put it in a lobby as a reminder not to rest on our laurels.

“But actually, I want to place it in the lobby because it is a symbol of boldness for me, and courage. We took a radical design direction last year. We dared and we failed.

“So for me that shows a lot the mindset of team, how to cope with success or failure at the same time. And I wouldn't want us to go in any shape or form conservative, and I want us to take calculated risk and be bold.”

Wolff says the team learned a lot from its difficult 2022 season, including avoiding blame culture.

“We talked about it for every single year when we were successful,” he admitted. “That eventually, we’re going to have a difficult one, because there is no sports team in the world that won every single competition that they participated in.

Lewis Hamilton, George Russell, Mick Schumacher, Mercedes Reserve Driver, Toto Wolff, Mercedes F1 Team Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes W14

Lewis Hamilton, George Russell, Mick Schumacher, Mercedes Reserve Driver, Toto Wolff, Mercedes F1 Team Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes W14

Photo by: Mercedes AMG

“That moment has come last year, and it was difficult. It was just not a race that went wrong, it was a whole season, or at least the first half of the season.

“So it was about really living to our own standards, staying motivated, not blaming anyone in the organisations, but sticking our heads together and trying to work us out of the dilemma.

“That’s something that showed the strengths of the team and our values and the mindset. Hopefully that can be a good, continuous base for our growth.”

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He says he also gained a lot personally from the struggle to make the W13 competitive: “I learned so much about myself. We learned so much in the team, how we interact with each other, because you kind of prepare yourself for the situation.

“But it came thick and hard last year because it wasn't a race, or two or three, it was a large part of the season that we didn't perform as expected.

“We went through the rollercoaster of emotions of seeing a good race and then the next one was even worse and managing your own expectations was a tricky one.

“I think I'm a better me personally, as a manager, and also the organisation we have learned a lot about each other. And we've taken that straight on.”

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