Nov.16 (GMM) Toto Wolff admits he will be absent from even more grands prix in the future.
Amid Mercedes’ struggle to match up to dominant rivals Red Bull since the dawning of the new ‘ground effect’ era last year, the 51-year-old did not travel to the races in Japan and Qatar recently.
Austrian Wolff took the opportunity to receive and recover from knee surgery, but he now admits that his Formula 1 absences will actually become more common.
In his absence, former F1 driver and new deputy Jerome d’Ambrosio shared acting team boss duties with communications chief Bradley Lord, and it now appears that a succession plan is being devised.
Ahead of the Las Vegas GP, Wolff – a one-third Mercedes team shareholder – admitted that he even considered quitting F1 altogether in 2000.
“I really struggled in 2020 to make a decision on whether I wanted to stay active in the sport or to be a shareholder and go back to my finance world,” he said.
“I was tired, mentally and physically, but then I came to the realisation that I wanted to continue,” Wolff is quoted as saying by Press Association.
“I feel I am contributing to the team in the crossover world of finance and motor racing, and I have a passion for both, and that is why I continue to do it.”
However, he admits that it’s his responsibility to ensure Mercedes has a good succession plan for the Brackley based team’s top job.
“The clear aim is to build a structure for the future and that is my sheer responsibility for the team,” said Wolff. “A stone could fall on my head and how does it look afterwards?
“That is why I would like to see myself in a few years maybe not going to 24 races, and just to 15. But that is many years away.
“I see myself in this role for a long time,” he insisted. “I cannot imagine doing something else.”