Toto Wolff says his first job at Mercedes was to ask for more money!

12-01-2020 08:12
by Matt Gretton
F1 News
Toto Wolff says his first job at Mercedes was to ask for more money!

When Toto Wolff first arrived at the Mercedes team, he knew the team needed to significantly increase the budget if they were going to win the Formula 1 world championship. After joining ahead of the 2013 F1 season, Mercedes are on a run of sixth consecutive F1 world titles which started in 2014. 

Wolff wasn't full of experience when he left his leadership role at Williams. The Austrian was at Williams when they last won a race when Pastor Maldonado led the field over the finish line. 

F1 Racing magazine spoke to Wolff and asked him how he managed to turn Mercedes into a winning team just 12 months after arriving in the garage. Wolff is very honest and direct with his answer and finds what the team lacked if they were going to fulfil the ambitions. 

"You need to understand where within your infrastructure, and within your resources – financial resources, human resources, technical capability - you’re lacking. And if you’re not brutally honest with yourself, and understand where the gaps are, you will never have an organisation that will be able to fight at the front in a sustainable way," Wolff said in his conversation with the magazine. 

"This is what we did at the end of 2012. I only joined in January 2013, but in September 2012 I was given three months – without having decided yet whether to join – by the board to give a personal opinion, without having a deep insight, of what I thought was going wrong."

Money money money 

Before Wolff finally joined the team in January 2013, he was given a few months at the end of 2012 to take an objective look at what he thought was wrong at Mercedes, before making a decision to make the switch. One thing became very clear to him in those few months; more money was needed.

"I was at Williams, so I wasn’t really given the detail. The start of the journey was to understand what the expectations of Daimler were with their team, and the expectations were to win championships – on resource that was about equal to what I had at Williams, and our expectation was to come in fourth or fifth!"

"I don’t want to talk too much about that. What I can tell you is that when I joined, within a few months we were given 20% more budget. That message didn’t reach the board before [that the team was underfunded].

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