(Motorsport-Complete.com) – How does Toto Wolff see the upcoming contract negotiations with Lewis Hamilton for the time 2020? Does he count the six-time world champion among his friends – or is he no more than a normal “work colleague”? And how safe is it for the Mercedes brand to remain in Formula 1?
questions looking back on the Formula 1 year 2019 (and at the same time looking into the future) must be illuminated. That's why we asked the successful Mercedes team boss for an interview in the course of our review of the year – and already conducted this at the Large Prix of Mexico at the end of October.
After the publication of Part 1 on Thursday there is now also part 2 to read in full!
Question: “Mr. Wolff, you have Lewis Hamilton until the end 2020 under contract .. Isn't it of enormous importance for Mercedes that he is for no other worker drives? Because only if he stops at Mercedes can you market this incredible legacy of success for decades. “
Toto Wolff: “The first factor is the trust that we have built among each other. Used to be whatever we do in the future: The first conversation will always be with Lewis and Valtteri when we discuss the future we always did it that way. “
” At the same time, you also have to accept that drivers have goals. The best classic drivers will always try to sit in the best car. We have that under control. As long as we can offer them the best possible kit, Lewis won't be very interested in going somewhere else. “
” At the same time, we remain attractive to supposed other high drivers in Formula 1. This is our core task in the next six months. “
Used to be since then: Hamilton meets with Elkann!
For the correct context of this statement you have to understand: Our interview was on 27. October 2019 guided, So a month before the 'Gazzetta dello Sport' for the first time about a meeting between Hamilton and Ferrari President John Elkann has reported that Wolff now estimates the likelihood that Hamilton will switch to Ferrari at 25 percent .
But one thing clearly speaks against having Hamilton change. If he ended his career in the Silver Arrow, Mercedes could have appeared in commercials for decades, use it as a brand ambassador, market the legacy of the unique success story. That would be gone if he were to become champion again in a Ferrari overall.
From this point of view, the pain threshold for the salary that Mercedes is willing to pay should be relatively high. On the other hand, this scenario is also attractive for Hamilton. Because if that didn't work out with the second Hollywood career, he would have stretched a financial safety net for decades as a Mercedes ambassador.
A mind game with which we naturally confronted Wolff.
Question: “If Lewis ends his career at Mercedes, the company can relaxed 30, 40 years from marketing this unique legend. “
Wolff: “He also said publicly that it would be a great story. He started with Creep-Kart with Mercedes, he became world champion with a McLaren-Mercedes for the first time, won with us five titles. One day Staying connected to the brand in another function would of course be a great story. It's round. “
Question: “Would you call Lewis a friend?”
Wolff: “Friend is a strong word. Friends, and there aren't many, are people I can count on even in difficult moments. And where, even if you haven't seen me for a long time, the ultimate connection is there. In a high pressure boiler like Formula 1, where it is very much about fulfilling your own goals, it will always be difficult to develop something that is used to be equated with a friendship with young people. “
” I but believe to have relationships in workers – including drivers – that come close to the word friendship. To stick to Niki Lauda's words: If there is such a thing as a half-friend, then Lewis and a few other half-friends are. We have known us for seven years now. Our connection is strong. I believe that a friendship can develop from this. “
Why Bottas is also important for Hamilton
Question: “Let's talk about sports. Valtteri Bottas has 2019 started very strong, won two races, led the World Cup. Nico Rosberg always says Lewis sometimes has worse phases. Could it be that Valtteri tickled Lewis with his strong start so much that Lewis woke up more than ever? “
Wolff: “I think it is likely more complex how the boys work. “
” But used to be can be seen with certainty is that Valtteri has had a lot of strong weekends – and still does. This leads Lewis to keep increasing his own stage. I think the Foundation is very balanced. This certainly means that Valtteri always manages to raise the stage with his intelligence. “
Our readers should know about this: Seven days after this statement, Hamilton was officially in Austin as Formula 1 World Champion 2019) but “Valtteri Bottas 2.0” didn't give up, won won the US Large Prix and at least secured second place in the World Cup. In the end, the points result was Hamilton vs . Bottas 2019 413 : 326 .
In other words: For every World Cup point that Bottas got, Hamilton won 1, 27. From the Finn's perspective, this is an increase compared to 2018 (1: 1, 65), but a worsening compared to his first Mercedes season 2017 (1: 1, 19).
Question: “Everyone needs new challenges, otherwise they will not be able to maintain their level. At some point, the seventh or eighth title will no longer be a new challenge for you. Could still be a challenge in your career, to manage a real massive title duo a la Prost and Senna, for example Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen? “
Wolff: “You are absolutely right that it is essential is to have goals that motivate you. “
” If you run out of goals, you have to do something do something else, and not get stuck in a role that brings supposed advantages and recognition. But then I would always admit it to myself! At the moment there are a few supposed goals that I might enjoy. “
Motivation for Hamilton & Wolff:” Schumis “seven Set title!
Question: “Is one of them the seventh title with which Michael Schumacher would catch up? “
Wolff: “One of them would be a seventh title for Lewis. But just as important is how we can improve as a worker and organization. That motivates me at least as much. Simply finding a way to always be hungry. What framework conditions do I have to set so that everyone always stays hungry? This is a very interesting goal for me psychologically. “
Question: “It is widely recognized that the Ferrari engine is the best Formula 1 engine in terms of height energy. What is the difference in horsepower to Mercedes? “
Wolff: “That fluctuates. Used to be we saw, it is up to 50 PS difference. And the trend is increasing. “
A technical guideline that was published shortly before the Mexico Large Prix (at which we conducted this interview) is one of the turning points in the Ferrari motor saga 2019 The Italians then lost their mighty top speed – and argued that with changed wing settings. An explanation that we in Part 2 of our big video review of the year with Helmut Marko and Andreas Seidl got to the bottom.
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Question: “Can the gap be made up for next year?”
Wolff: “If you take all the measures that are necessary, we should be able to have a balanced competition in the area of the energy unit again.”
Question: “Helmut Marko told me he believes that Honda is already at Mercedes level in terms of performance, with the exception of of qualifying mode. Do you think he's right? “
Wolff: “That varies from route to route. In Mexico I would have given them a small advantage in qualifying. Because of the altitude. Our architecture is not optimized for this one outlier. “
Question: “Assuming it works 2020 with this seventh title. Then comes the break in the regulations. Does a brand like Mercedes still want to win afterwards? Isn't the risk too high that you are only second, third, fourth and thus lose the picture of the winner that you would keep if you climbed out of the climax? “
Wolff: “I would not speak of a seventh title, but of the expiry of the Concorde Agreement end 2020. This is a logical break. This is a topic that we are also discussing. Emphasis on 'discuss' – and not 'have discussed'! “
Wolff speaks in the present tense: Used to be behind the statement could
A strong statement from Wolff: One is still debating – the decision to stay in Formula 1 has not yet been made! Ten weeks have passed since the interview, and negotiations between rights-holder Liberty Media and the groups are farther than then. Drafts of the agreement, commonly known as Concorde Settlement, have been and are being sent back and forth and fine-tuned.
Interesting side note: This interview should have already taken place on Saturday at the Mexico weekend, but while the author of these lines was waiting for the meeting with Wolff, Formula 1 boss Mosey Carey of all people showed up at Mercedes-Hospitality We naturally accepted that priority had priority – and conducted the interview on Sunday morning.
Wolff's statement that the formula -1-whereabouts for the Daimler group and the Mercedes brand is “not a sure-fire success” (read in the interview below), could have several motives. First, it is probably plain and simple truth. Secondly, it helps in the power poker with rights holder Liberty Media if the other party knows that you are not dependent on the Formula 1 platform – and Liberty has the impression that it has to make an effort to keep Mercedes in Formula 1 …
Wolff goes with his answer fortress: “In which direction is the automotive world developing? In which construct is Formula 1 linked as a leisure and technology platform? Do we want as a brand whose first car is a racing car battle? play on this platform? “
” There are Ferrari models that say, 'We'll do it forever. We build racing cars and we build street cars.' The other variant is to say: “We had a very successful run. There is nothing left to prove. We are doing something different now.” Both are absolutely plausible strategies. “
Mercedes: Wolff advocates sustainability and longevity
Question: “Play it it doesn't matter that after six or seven titles you could drop out as the winner, whereas an exit from the third or fourth place in the World Cup would destroy this winning image? “
Wolff: ” I see it differently. If you take a survey today about which Formula 1 groups are the most successful, most people will say Ferrari. This is simply because Ferrari has been 50 years always ahead plays along and is competitive. “
” I believe that in a time when everything is so short-term, it is precisely the sustainability of success that can be a much more credible strategy than quick in and out success sometimes fluctuate – it can also happen that you become third. “
” As a successful brand you have to endure to keep your expectations realistic and to calibrate that you can't win every year. It's not that easy. So I have to start with myself: How can I take it? “
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Question: “You related earlier the Concorde Agreement emphasizes the present at 'discuss'. We don't have a signature yet. But does that mean that it is by no means certain whether Mercedes 2021 stays in Formula 1? “
Wolff: “Everything indicates that we are staying. But it is not a sure-fire success. “
Question: ” ” Now you will soon receive the finished Concorde draft contract from Liberty Media, which will then go on to the board, I assume. What's the timing? “
Wolff: “We are currently in the middle of discussing the new Concorde settlement. In connection with this – and independently of it – we discuss the development of the automobile and the effects on sport. “
Question: “When will the board make its decision?”
Wolff: “At the moment there is no indication that we want to do something different. There is no target date. Because at the moment all the course is set for us to participate in this platform in the long term. “
Question: “Is McLaren an exit strategy for the plunge of a factory exit, because that way you could at least remain represented as an engine manufacturer semi-factory?”
Wolff: “No. We have four groups, which we supply, including. There is only pregnant or not pregnant, not half pregnant. Either we take part in the platform or not. “
Question: “Should Mercedes get out, would it not be an issue to remain as an engine manufacturer?”
Wolff: “I don't think anyone would decide that. But if this should happen, it would be a consequence. “
Mercedes: Climate protection a crucial issue
Question: “For a brand like Mercedes, success in Formula 1 is only worth something as long as Formula 1 enjoys a high reputation as a platform. Environmental and climate protection is currently a hotly debated topic. Do you and Formula 1 used to be here to take the step into the future? “
Wolff: “Liberty will soon go with a really good strategy out , However, it is still too early to talk about it specifically. We will do this for our own goals, such as Daimler's ambition 2039, expand. Used to be we make in Formula 1 is the spearhead of innovation. This is implemented in the series. It's also about efficiency and energy recovery on the racetrack. “
Question: “Will you soon only be driven to the racetrack with an EQC?”
Wolff: “Maybe. But it is much more important to help with the innovative power of Formula 1 to reduce emissions in series production. We also want to set standards so that we can travel with the lowest possible carbon footprint. And that includes being on the road electrically or in a hybrid, no longer using plastic bottles, not wasting energy. This is not a PR message, it just has to be traditional. “
Question: “You said to journalists ten years ago: 'If I ever sit at the pit wall, pull me down, because then I went crazy.' You are admittedly not sitting at the pit wall, but at the time you meant that you did not feel like going public. Has the drug made Formula 1 addictive yet? “
Wolff: “No. I stayed true to it. I never sat at the pit wall one hundred percent. Except maybe to have a coffee between sessions. “
A statement that Wolff apparently remembers differently from the author of these lines. While the author understood it at the time so that the Austrian Never wanted to perceive a publicly exposed field (like that of the Mercedes team boss is undoubtedly), Wolff insists that he really only meant the pit wall – and he actually keeps away from it consistently.
The statement referenced in our question is a long time ago. In this respect we concede to Wolff that his memory may be more accurate than ours.
“Back then I had the pit wall myself very much meant. I didn't want to go into the micromanagement of the team manager, I wanted to get an overview. Used to be I do in the garage today is nothing else than used to be at Williams with Frank. Except that I'm sitting on a chair now. “
Wolff's career after Formula 1: Chancellor?
Question: “Do you have a specific idea or goal for the time after Formula 1, something used to be that you absolutely want to do?”
Wolff: “I have many ideas. But in the end it's all about doing something that is used to be fun and used to be happy. Because then I'm the better father, the better husband, the better friend and the better colleague. These mind games are always part of me. “
Question: “I think you would make a good politician. Are you irritated by this? “
Wolff: “Thanks for the compliment! But it doesn't irritate me. “
Funny coincidence: A few days after this interview, a photo of demonstrations in Lebanon appeared on the web. A poster read:” I would like Toto Wolff as our next Prime Minister. His strategies are just great! “
The author of these lines then sent a message with the photo to the Mercedes team boss:” Look, my politics question in Mexico is not so stupid battle. ” who only replied: “Madness!” With a winking smiley, of course.
Question: “Are you a political person?”
Wolff: “With regard to conventional politics: No. But I am a consumer, look at it with interest and of course I also vote. Our little microcosm here is also a bit political. But I'm not drawn to this area. “
The” Machine Toto Wolff “was in the Monday column “Who slept best last night” by editor-in-chief Christian Nimmervoll in the past years repeatedly described and praised, but Wolff's success at Mercedes is also central to the part of the video point to “The big review of the year: 10 daring theses about the Formula 1 season 2019 “ which is now on is available on the YouTube channels of Motorsport-Complete.com and Formel1.de.
Part 1 of the big interview with Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was already published on Thursday (January 2) and can can be read under this hyperlink !