Wolff: Marchionne has one of the sharpest minds I know

Ferrari big boss Sergio Marchionne is not one to mince his words and seldom spares firing a shot at his own team when they perform below par, but Mercedes chief Toto Wolff warns that putting too much pressure on a team can be detrimental while offering insight into how his team does it.

Wolff clearly respects Marchionne, but said of the businessman’s management style, “Pressure can make a diamond, but pressure can also make a pipe burst. Sergio Marchionne is one of the most successful businessmen that I have ever met, and somebody that has one of the sharpest minds I have ever seen operating.”

“So far it works for him and I don’t think you can reduce Ferrari’s 2017 season or the end of the 2017 season campaign, to the pressure that was applied. I think this is over-simplification.”

During the course of their illustrious history, Ferrari have been plagued with internal politics and in 2016 staff at Maranello were reportedly working in a pressure cooker which a former engineer described as “an environment of terror.”

Wolff explained how things work in the Silver Arrows camp, “We encourage everybody in the organisation to speak up. We have a motto that is: see it, say it, fix it.”

“This means that you have to create a safe environment for everybody to speak up. You need to be able to improve as a part of the team. What we try to do from the very senior leadership is to blame the problem and not the individual.”

“It is easy to say: well, that is what we do. As a matter of fact, it is in human nature to try to identify a guilty person, it is easy because it is a pressure release – his fault.”

“We’re working really hard on not doing that because the moment you do that people close up like a shell and you won’t see any innovation, you won’t see any risk-taking. This is what we want – we are in a risk-taking business, an innovation business,” added Wolff.

Big Question: Is Sergio’s pressure good for Ferrari?