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Toto Wolff

Wolff on the one significant event that shaped his character

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff explains the one life-changing event he experienced growing up that shaped his character as an F1 team principal.

Article
To news overview © Mercedes

Mercedes' team principal reveals how the death of his father has influenced his management style in Formula 1.

Having overseen seven consecutive F1 constructors and driver titles, Wolff is no doubt one of the most successful team bosses to grace the sport. The Austrian elaborates on how the trauma of losing his father at a very young age influenced his no blame policy at Mercedes.

"There’s various grades of trauma," Wolff told the Race.com

"I’m not speaking about trauma that is caused by abuse or war. But losing a parent is trauma. And everything that’s linked to it, because it took a long time for this to happen.

"That follows me every single day. Because as a husband, as a father, as a business owner, as a friend, I just like to avoid anybody around me having the same experience that I had.

Wolff says this protective nature has carried over to his professional life, saying he feels responsible for those around him whether at work or at home.

"It is my responsibility to look after everybody in this organisation, and my family,” Wolff said.

"That’s maybe also because I had to take responsibility at a very early age for my sister and I.

"What it triggers in me is an instinct of ‘this is my tribe, and I need to protect my tribe, no matter what’. It triggers an emotional response in me. It’s not even something that I’m doing on purpose. I can analyse rationally what I’m doing. But I don’t know, it just comes out.

"This is the most important part. I won’t let anybody hit out on anybody within the tribe."

Wolff uses an example from the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix to illustrate his point about protecting those within his team.

"I had an interview, somebody asked me to say who was responsible for the headrest coming off, and to name the person, it just sent me sky-high," Wolff recalled.

"It’s my responsibility to protect the group. It’s protecting every individual to the best of my abilities within the tribe."

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