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Toto Wolff

Wolff studied Manchester United to help Mercedes in F1

Mercedes have struggled in the 2022 F1 season, with team boss Toto Wolff admitted to studying an example from football as to why teams don't keep winning.

Toto Wolff
Article
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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff studied Manchester United's success under legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson to help understand his team's struggles in the Formula 1 2022 season.

Since the adoption of the turbo hybrids in 2014, Mercedes have won every Constructors' Championship and seven of eight Drivers' crowns, only being denied a clean sweep by Max Verstappen in 2021.

It is the longest continuous championship winning run in F1 history, eclipsing the Michael Schumacher/Ferrari heyday of 1999-2004.

However, the team have struggled in 2022, having got the new technical regulations wrong, and for the first time since 2011 have reached the summer break without having won a Grand Prix.

As Mercedes are set to not win either championship for the first time since 2013, Wolff has admitted to studying Manchester United's record under Ferguson for inspiration.

Wolff studies Manchester United

Under the guidance of Ferguson, Manchester United became the dominant force in English football throughout the 1990s and 2000s.

From his appointment in 1986, to his retirement in 2013, Ferguson captured 13 league titles, two UEFA Champions Leagues, five FA Cups, four League Cups and a variety of other trophies.

His greatest season was in 1998/99 when United became the only English team in history to win the treble of League, Champions League and FA Cup.

However, since his retirement, United have had eight managers in nine years, having not won a trophy since 2017.

Ferguson was famous for reinventing his squad during his tenure and not afraid to push out big name players, such as captain Roy Keane or the likes of David Beckham or Ruud van Nistelrooy.

And Mercedes boss Wolff says he has studied Ferguson's success to see what he could learn.

“I studied why great teams were not able to repeat great title [runs],” he explained in an interview with the Financial Times, referring to Ferguson's United team.

"No sports team in any sport has ever won eight consecutive World Championship titles, and there are many reasons for that, and what is at the core is the human.

"The human gets complacent. You are not energised in the same way you were before. You are maybe not as ambitious.”

However, Wolff did acknowledge that Mercedes being toppled is ultimately good for F1 as the team would "kill [it] because nobody would watch."

Mercedes in company of great teams

In terms of successive championships won, Mercedes' eight is in the company of some of major sport's finest.

In the NBA, the record for successive championships is also eight, held by the Boston Celtics.

They won every year from 1959 to 1966, and also in 1957 and 1968/69 for good measure.

Over in the NFL, no team has ever won the Super Bowl three times in a row, with the Green Bay Packers, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers (twice) among those to go back-to-back.

In NASCAR, the record is five successive championships for Jimmie Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports between 2006-2010, while the IndyCar record is four for Sebastien Bourdais in the ChampCar era from 2004-2007.

Sebastian Loeb holds the outright motorsport record for successive titles won with nine straight World Rally crowns between 2004 and 2012, while the football record for national league titles is held by Latvia's Skonto FC – champions 14 times between 1991 and 2004,

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