The German manufacturer has had a rocky start to the 2022 season, with its W13 proving no match for cars from Ferrari and Red Bull.
They bottomed out at Imola last weekend, where none of their drivers made it to Q3 in qualifying, and Lewis Hamilton completed a gray race in which he made no progress and finished 13th.
After crossing the finish line, Wolff opened the team radio and apologized to Hamilton for giving him an ‘undrivable’ car, promising the seven-time champion that the team would find a way out of its problems.
During the glorious era in which Mercedes has claimed eight consecutive F1 constructors’ championships, Wolff has had plenty of opportunities to sell his shares in the team and walk out the front door of the Grand Circus.
However, when it was suggested to him whether, during this period of crisis, he had considered whether he should have sold his millions to retire to the Maldives , Wolff made it clear how committed he is.
“The problem is that I would be dead in the Maldives without doing what I’m doing here,” Wolff explained. “The activity in the team, the development of the team, is what I really enjoy.”
“Formula 1 is booming. On the revenue side, things are going very well and this is what I really want to do for the rest of my life.”
“In that sense, until now I haven’t raised the question of saying ‘it’s done’.
“It would be like a project manager or an employee saying, ‘I’ve done this, I’m going to go big with the record.’ But no, that’s not for me.”
As Mercedes faces its toughest season in the turbo-hybrid era, Wolff says this year’s performance has been a major slap in the face of reality and a lesson that no one is invincible in F1.
But while they have failed on the car for 2022, he has faith that those same engineers can turn things around and make rapid progress.
Asked if he thought the team’s staff had lost their talent, Wolff said: “My spontaneous answer would be: you can’t unlearn. But then the track teaches us something else.”
“It’s also about always staying humble, and that’s who we are, and saying, ‘Shit, we were wrong.’ Now you have to accept that.”
“Where did we go wrong? During my tenure, we won eight titles in a row and now we’ve gone wrong. Because it’s not like we’re only three tenths away.”
“But as far as the development of our personality and the values of our team, as bad as it goes, this is an important learning: there is no one who is infallible. We are seeing it right now. But the team is capable of turning around to things,” he concluded.