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Mercedes boss Wolff reveals new mindset about his Formula 1 future

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has revealed a totally different mindset about his own future in Formula 1, which means he will never turn his back on the Silver Arrows.

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG, in the Team Principals Press Conference

The Austrian first arrived in F1 as a Williams shareholder in 2009, before becoming team principal and co-owner of Mercedes from 2013.

He then helped lead the German manufacturer to a run of eight consecutive constructors’ championships from 2014 to 2021, with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg taking seven drivers’ titles in that period.

However, Wolff said he did ponder stepping away from F1 in 2020 when he came near to the end of a third three-contract signed with Mercedes.

But after contemplating whether he had the desire to continue, Wolff has explained that his thought process actually went the other way as he committed more than he ever imagined.

Now, as revealed in an exclusive interview with Autosport, Wolff has said previous ideas of cashing out on his F1 investment have been banished.

“In 2020, I was thinking [about the future],” he explained.

“My plan in a way was that when I'm 49, I'm going to stop doing this. Because as a 50-year-old, you're grown up, you're not being team manager anymore.

“But what changed then is what was [previously] the project: buy the shares, and sell the shares, like investments in our finance industry. In 2020, I came to the conclusion to say: 'I'm going to keep this'.

“For the first time in my life, I changed my business strategy from an investment guy who buys, develops and sells, to buy, develop, keep. It was a big change.

“It took me one year to digest that, that I don't want to go back into the [financial] industry where I have been doing that 25 years. But actually, I wanted to become a real entrepreneur, and keep this forever. That was the moment to keep on.”

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Wolff explained that in his early years at Mercedes, everything was focused on making the team a success because of the increase in value that would bring to the squad.

“That was the only thing that was important, because winning championships meant financial success,” he said. “I originally signed a three-year deal.

“Then, when I really enjoyed it, I signed another three-year deal. And I really enjoyed it. And then came the crucial moment.

“So, it was 2013/14/15, plus 2016/17/18. And then I signed another one 2019/20/21. And in 2020, I didn't know if I wanted to continue doing this or not. So, it was always previously linked to a contractual term. Whereas now, it's not anymore.”

Wolff said the decision he took to wed himself to the Mercedes team, rather than treat it as a simple investment tool, means he has can now no longer turn his back on F1. Instead, he feels a great duty to lay foundations to ensure the F1 outfit has a secure future.

PLUS: What next for Mercedes in its quest to get back to the top of F1?

“It’s my company, it's my team,” he said. “The problem is I cannot even walk away.

“I can only bring up talent and change the scope of my activities to go in a way. It's not a project anymore. It's my company.

“I'm one of three shareholders and I need to pinch myself every day of this opportunity. It's important with all the up and downs.”

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