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The huge influence which Wolff holds within F1 and beyond

The huge influence which Wolff holds within F1 and beyond

26 June - 08:06
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With Mercedes strongly lobbying for the FIA to enact a directive to prevent porpoising across all teams, we take a look at the conductor of this charge. Toto Wolff's significance in the F1 paddock is well-known, but how far does it really reach and how much can it affect those around him?

History

Toto Wolff and his affinity with motorsport is one that spans years. Starting in 1992, he raced mostly in GT series, namely the Austrian and German Formula Ford Championships and the Italian GT Championship. Realising he had a significant amount of business acumen, he chose to bring it together with his love for motorsport.

For several years, he also held a significant stake within the Williams F1 team. This places him as the executive director in the 2012 season, in which the team saw its last recorded win at the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix under Pastor Maldonado. His final connection to the legendary British team came to an end when his shares were sold to Dorilton Capital in 2020.

His connections

Mercedes F1 team is his most well-known project. Joining for the 2013 season, he has forged the German giant into one of the most dominant teams ever seen in F1. Since the 2014 season, Mercedes has only known glory under his reign, with eight successive championship wins. As of right now, Wolff holds a 33% stake in the Mercedes F1 team alongside Daimler & INEOS. He also holds a contract that expires in the 2023 season, but considering how close he is linked to the team, a permanent move away will seem impossible.

Wolff is also currently director and CEO of the Mercedes EQ Formula E team, which will soon be by McLaren after Mercedes’ shock announcement last season to exit the series. He also has a history of managing drivers, with Valterri Bottas and Esteban Ocon both being under his management for periods of time. More significantly, he has held a close relationship with long-time driver Lewis Hamilton, and the two have a deep level of understanding of one another.

Overall weight

Without a doubt, Toto Wolff has a huge measure of influence within the paddock. His business knowledge and a past career as a race driver has allowed him to cultivate a wide perspective, giving him a unique approach to his activities. He is also best known for engaging with partners and stakeholders at a personal level, choosing to bring them closer and ensure that they feel constantly within the loop.

However, at an FIA and governing-body level, he holds as much weight as any other team principal (on face value that is). Rule & decision-makers will not consider any of his power, as he is simply a competitor. However, as seen before, teams with Mercedes power units or who are benefactors of  Mercedes’ design are more likely to align with their provider’s stances out of allegiance. One would imagine, however, that this would naturally ebb and flow depending on current agreements.

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