Mercedes chief Toto Wolff claims that the lion's share of merit for Mercedes dominance in recent years is also borne by the legendary Michael Schumacher, who has been racing for silver arrows between the years 2010 and 2012.
Schumacher stepped down from his 2010 temporary retirement year and joined Mercedes after the German manufacturer took over the reins on the winning team of the season 2009 Brawn GP.
After returning to the sport as a freelance constructor, the team was competitive because it lacked the resources to truly compete with competitors such as Ferrari and Red Bull.
The intense lobbying by Schumacher, aided by Mercedes Group boss Norbert Haug, resulted in a significant budget increase for the year 2013 when Toto Wolff took over the management of the F1 team.
“Michael has a big stake [pri uspehu Mercedesa],” Wolff told Motorsport-Total.
“If the Brawn GP had not existed and without Norbert's vision of owning a team with Michael as a major celebrity, our success story would not have existed
“The change in committee's perception of our project happened at the end of the year 2012 and at the beginning of the year 2013.”
For years 2012, Mercedes consulted with Wolff, Williams' then-shareholder, on how to turn Mercedes into a winning team.
“As an outsider, I was asked to compare whether the organization and resources of the Mercedes team could meet their own expectations in order to win the World Cup.
“There was a gap between their expectations and what was actually possible. Budget increase happened in year 2013. “
“The view I presented at that time was:” We can go on. Then my realistic estimate would be somewhere between third and sixth. But we can take a step towards Red Bull and fight for the World Cup title after the introduction of the new rules of the year 2014. ”