Toto Wolff: Mercedes was paranoid throughout 2014 Formula 1 season

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff insists that he never felt comfortable about the advantage his team had over its Formula 1 rivals until the closing stages of 2014

Toto Wolff: Mercedes was paranoid throughout 2014 Formula 1 season

Although Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg won 16 out of 19 grands prix this year, Wolff says he was always paranoid that the opposition would close his team down and knock them off the top spot.

"I am such a pessimistic person by nature," Wolff told AUTOSPORT. "It was not until the flight back from Suzuka to Europe, obviously with the black cloud of Jules's [Bianchi] accident there, that I realised for the first time we have a dominant package - and we might be able to win.

"I didn't have those thoughts at all through the season. I never believed that it was an easy pass - in fact it was the contrary."

Wolff believes fears about what other teams could do were immediately fuelled by Red Bull's recovery from a disastrous pre-season testing programme to take a podium finish on the road with Daniel Ricciardo in the Australian GP season-opener.

"Everything we saw since the beginning of the season was not indication enough that our package would be good enough," he explained.

"When we came into Melbourne, Ricciardo finished second before it was taken away - from barely any testing.

"So that was a bit of a reminder that we should not be complacent. That is why we went from race to race, trying to improve performance and, if you look at the season, it was the first time that the team ever increased the gap throughout the year instead of falling back.

"Even in 2009, it went down. Last year we were really doing well until the summer break and then after the summer break we just lost out to the nine victories of Sebastian Vettel. And this year the opposite happened."

PERSONAL PARANOIA

Wolff blames his own personality for never feeling comfortable about the lead that Mercedes had, but thinks that trait is also a strength.

"In the past in my own jobs, I never felt comfortable with anything until it was done," he said. "And it is not because I said that I should never be comfortable, it is just the way I am calibrated. I don't believe it is done until it is done.

"It certainly doesn't make my life easier. It gives one miserable day after another, but it is a strength in always expecting the worst.

"Because you are managing your own expectations in yourself, and keep yourself pushing hard because you do not believe it is ever good enough."

shares
comments
Felipe Massa: Williams F1 squad feels like a new team after changes
Previous article

Felipe Massa: Williams F1 squad feels like a new team after changes

Next article

Bad 2014 F1 season made Sebastian Vettel better - Christian Horner

Bad 2014 F1 season made Sebastian Vettel better - Christian Horner
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Plus

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Plus

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Plus

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
How Verstappen's record-breaking 2022 season compares to the F1 greats Plus

How Verstappen's record-breaking 2022 season compares to the F1 greats

The 2022 Formula 1 season will be remembered as a record book rewriting Max Verstappen masterclass, a completely different challenge to his maiden world championship last year, and a clear sign he is still raising his own level. But where does it stack up against the all-time great F1 campaigns?

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2022 Formula 1 season came to a close at the Yas Marina Circuit, where the battle for second in the standings was decided, the wins in a season record extended and a retiring four-time world champion bowed out on a high. Here's how we rated the drivers

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2022
The factors that stopped Perez catching Leclerc in Verstappen's Abu Dhabi triumph Plus

The factors that stopped Perez catching Leclerc in Verstappen's Abu Dhabi triumph

Max Verstappen ended the 2022 Formula 1 season in fitting fashion with a dominant drive to victory in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. But behind him, early season rival Charles Leclerc achieved his target of securing the runner-up spot with a well-executed a one-stop strategy to beat Sergio Perez, whose pursuit on a two-stop strategy was hampered by several critical factors

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2022
Why the impact of FIA’s anti-bouncing metric is hard to judge Plus

Why the impact of FIA’s anti-bouncing metric is hard to judge

Faced with drivers complaining about the long-term health effects of car ‘bouncing’, the FIA stepped in to deal with it. JAKE BOXALL-LEGGE explains how the so-called ‘Aerodynamic Oscillation Metric’ works, and asks if it is fit for purpose?

Formula 1
Nov 20, 2022
Where Vettel stands in the list of the greatest F1 drivers Plus

Where Vettel stands in the list of the greatest F1 drivers

As Sebastian Vettel’s Formula 1 career has come to a close, figuring out where he fits into the greatest of all time order is a tough and subjective call. With the aid of statistics, attributes and history, here’s how the four-time world champion stacks up in the debate

Formula 1
Nov 19, 2022