(Motorsport-Total.com) – Four weeks before the start of the 2020 Formula 1 season, it is still unclear whether Toto Wolff will extend his contract as team boss of Mercedes, which runs until the end of 2020. In a video conference with selected media representatives, the 48-year-old Austrian left the door open for a change in his role.
“I am very lucky to have been at the helm at Mercedes since the beginning of 2014, and these are years that I would not want to miss,” he says. “I had great fun interacting and working with my friends in the Formula 1 team and at Daimler, and that’s something I don’t want to be without.”
“Nevertheless,” admits Wolff, “I have to question myself. I don’t want to be one of the team bosses who were once great and are now only good and don’t realize that they may not be able to contribute as much to the team as they did at the beginning “I feel like I can still contribute a lot. But I’m thinking about my future.”
Most recently, the platform ‘F1-Insider.com’ reported that after his current contract had expired, Wolff could step down as a team manager and switch to a new position, for example as a member of the Mercedes racing team – much like his longstanding business partner and friend Niki Lauda used to do.
Wolff confirms talks with Källenius
Wolff confirms that his future role in the team is the subject of talks with Daimler CEO Ola Källenius. Because of his 30 percent stake in the Mercedes team, this is “not just an employment contract”, but: “We are right in the middle of the process of working out our future together.”
At the moment he does not want to get into a “concrete wording” about what his future could look like: “Whether that means team boss or managing director doesn’t matter. And frankly I haven’t decided yet because the races have not even started. All of these discussions are taking place. “
At least since our exclusive story of March 27, according to which Wolff could plan a B with a financial investment at Aston Martin (which was officially confirmed on April 17), there has been speculation in the industry about a possible farewell as team boss. And Wolff does little to defuse this speculation.
When asked specifically about the rumors that he could at least abdicate as a team manager at Mercedes, he vaguely formulates: “Something I was always proud of in our team is the fact that we managed to lead the team into new roles We opened up opportunities for talent. And the same applies to me. “
What Wolff strongly denies is an allegedly strained relationship with Daimler boss Källenius. If Wolff was able to unlock and rule under his predecessor Dieter Zetsche, Källenius will keep him on a much tighter leash, at least as experts in the Stuttgart Daimler environment report.
Källenius and Zetsche are “very different personalities”, admits Wolff, without evaluating that. But he rejects media reports about cracks in relation to the Daimler top. His relationship with Källenius is “excellent” and goes beyond a pure working relationship. The Austrian even puts the word “friendship” in his mouth.
“Ola and I,” he says, “had to laugh a lot when these rumors came up that our relationship was not working properly. We talk on the phone several times a week and he gets very involved. He’s a good sparring partner for me, and so is I don’t want to miss Ola any more than I would have liked to have missed Dieter. “
Wolff: Why he invested 41 million in Aston Martin
His investment in the sports car manufacturer Aston Martin (not to be confused with the Formula 1 team Racing Point, which will start in 2021 as a works team with a license from Aston Martin) is precisely that, a “financial investment. I believe in the brand” , he underlines. “And I think the strategy that is being implemented there makes sense.”
“I bought a few shares in order to diversify investments,” explains Wolff. According to the ‘Daily Mail’, he started with £ 37m (currently € 41m) from the sports car manufacturer. As a shareholder. “I will not play an operational role,” he clarifies.
“My operational functions remain unchanged. I am at Mercedes, I am team manager and shareholder there. And it is clear if there are no other headlines that the Aston Martin thing has made waves. But I plan with Mercedes. I have the intention to stay here. Nothing has changed. “
His investment at Aston Martin could be rewarding. By the close of trading on Friday, the share had gained over 130 percent in value since May 14. The course was fueled by a change in management: Andy Palmer was replaced as CEO last week. On August 1st, Tobias Moers takes over.
Moers was previously CEO at Mercedes-AMG and is considered a success manager in the automotive industry. His move on the financial market is seen as an indication that the Daimler Group could expand its minority stake in Aston Martin. This had recently been pointed out by media reports in connection with Daimler’s Formula 1 program.
“I believe in the Aston Martin brand, I believe in the management,” says Wolff. “Tobias Moers is someone who understands this exactly. I have known him for a long time – and I believe that he can turn this business around. In the long term, it can be a successful company.”
In any case, Wolff is not worried about his millions invested: “There is a very strong group of shareholders (around Lawrence Stroll’s Yew Tree consortium) who support Aston Martin and who do not abandon the brand and I decided to be part of this group. “