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Wolff hopes to remain involved in F1 with Mercedes until his 80s

Toto Wolff hopes “there are another 30 years of Mercedes Formula 1 for me” – a period that would take the Austrian’s involvement in grand prix racing up to his eighties.

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Wolff made the comments in a soon-to-be released book, ‘F1 Racing Confidential’, written by The Guardian’s F1 correspondent, Giles Richards.

The book is a series of 20 interviews with figures from six F1 teams and the championship’s tyre supplier, Pirelli – outlining the nature of their roles and their life histories.

Wolff’s interview ends with him musing about what his future holds at the Mercedes squad where has been a co-owner since 2013, when he also joined as its managing partner and overall head of Mercedes motorsport.

He recently committed to a new three-year contract as Mercedes’ team principal, a title he has held since his former co-executive director, Paddy Lowe, left at the end of 2016.

“Life is full of surprises,” Wolff said. “I would never have imagined I would be here or the success of this team.

“I am 52 now. It sounds like an old age but hopefully there are another 30 years of Mercedes F1 for me.

“It's important that when you hand over the baton at 80, you can say: 'That was pretty good. I am happy with myself - I met my own expectations of my life'.”

Another revealing passage of Wolff’s interview concerns what he told the Mercedes board about its F1 championship expectations in the underwhelming years that followed the Silver Arrows returning in a works team capacity back in 2010.

Toto Wolff, Executive Director, Williams F1, with Alex Wurz.

Toto Wolff, Executive Director, Williams F1, with Alex Wurz.

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar

Having been asked to assess the operation it had bought from Ross Brawn in late 2009 that had won only once (the 2012 Chinese Grand Prix) since the Briton’s eponymous squad won that year’s world title double, Wolff told the Mercedes board that it was not providing enough cash to compete with then frontrunners Red Bull and Ferrari.

This was in 2012 before Wolff joined Mercedes, when he was an executive director and minority shareholder at Williams. He had got involved in F1 after combining his passion for motorsport with his previous career as an internet and technology investor, following his unsuccessful attempts to make it as a racing driver in the 1990s.

Wolff said he told the Mercedes board: “'I am at Williams running exactly the same budgets and my expectation is top six and you have the same budget and your expectation is world champions – that's what is wrong'.”

He added: “They were very angry but I said: 'Don't shoot the messenger...'

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“So when I came in I told Mercedes I need to have the same budget as our main competitors, Ferrari and Red Bull. I won't guarantee that this will make us win the championship, but I can guarantee that if you don't give it to us you will not win it.

“That was the decisive moment and the board said: 'Tell us what you need'."

Mercedes went on to secure seven world title doubles between 2014 and 2021, plus that year’s constructors’ championship, but is currently struggling to recapture that form in F1’s new ground-effect era.

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