Mercedes is bidding to shed its conservative image, new director and team co-owner Toto Wolff has revealed, and hiring Lewis Hamilton is a signal of their intent to develop a younger, sportier image.
Over the winter, it has been all change at the German team; swapping Michael Schumacher with Hamilton, Norbert Haug with Austrian Wolff and Niki Lauda, and soon set to push ahead with McLaren’s ex technical chief Paddy Lowe.
“At Mercedes, we no longer want to be so conservative,” Wolff is quoted by Austrian television ORF 1. “The new Mercedes (road car) models are young and sporty.”
He admitted that hiring 2008 world champion Hamilton, who is replacing the 44-year-old seven time world champion Schumacher, is a key factor.
“Lewis not only has an immense driving talent, but a great technical understanding. He also has the right feel for the staff and how to motivate them. After the first two days of testing, he knew all 50 team members at the track by name,” revealed Wolff.
He added, “The image of him that is sometimes drawn by the media does not correspond to reality.”
Wolff admitted, however, that with all the changes come higher expectations.
“We have been brought in to turn the team around,” he said, referring also to Lauda, “and if we cannot (do that), we’re gone. But I’m convinced we can, and the board knows what resources and time we need.” (GMM)