Toto Wolff admitted that some personnel within the Formula 1 paddock have lost his respect forever, in a recent interview with The Race.
Since joining the Mercedes team in 2013, Wolff has made his name as one of the sport’s greatest team principals. Since the dawn of the turbo-hybrid era in 2014, Wolff has led Mercedes to 103 wins in 139 races, with 206 podiums out of a possible 278.
With his team so successful, Wolff has dealt with plenty of criticism and attempts to knock Mercedes down a peg. The 2020 ban on qualifying engine modes and the reduction of rear downforce in 2021 are two tweaks that the team have felt were been designed to hinder them.
“There are areas where I see bias against Mercedes,” Wolff said. “And here in the group we discuss, is it a pure bias that somebody wants to just penalise us in a way which sometimes is triggered by other teams, or is this something that is really important for the sport?
“We have even accepted some of the biases, because we knew about them. We took the conscious decision to accept it. But then there are clear, obvious actions against the team with the only aim to hurt us. And I will be always fighting this.”
Wolff comes across as a man who appreciates values, and shows this when he discussed integrity and transparency in F1.
“Integrity in a world where everything is transparent means you’re staying true to your own values,” he added.
“There’s just no millimetre of margin for a lack of integrity. And it’s so important to me that if somebody disrespects integrity when dealing with me, I will break with this person, no matter what.”
Dishonesty and a lack of transparency is another thing that riles Wolff with reference to Ferrari‘s backroom deal with the FIA over their engine.
“Because I’m passionate about the sport and the values of the sport,” he said.
“It’s a competition that should be carried out on fair grounds. And there are some that have lost my respect forever over the last few years, not a particular incident. And others that I see through their manipulative, amateur Machiavellian behaviour.
“I see the smiles that have hatred or negativity towards us. And then there’s people within the industry that I respect a lot, and I have friendships with them. They try to do the best for the sport, whilst maintaining a neutral position to all teams.
“They don’t ask anybody to be biased to Mercedes, just to do the best for the sport because we all benefit from a good sport. We share the revenues and the better the show is the better the sport.
“That’s why, in a way, I take it personally because I want to protect the organisation. But on the other side, the case studies of individuals that are around the paddock, it’s just very interesting for me to see that.
“They speak about Formula 1 as a shark tank. Most of them are goldfishes that believe they are sharks. And there’s some baby sharks also.”