• Mercedes news

It's my neck on the line - Wolff

ESPN Staff
February 13, 2013 « Hulkenberg will bring consistent results - Sauber | Grosjean has regained his confidence - Boullier »
Toto Wolff: "I have no room for failure" © Getty Images
Enlarge

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff says he has put his "neck on the line" in his new role at the German car giant and that once he has had time to observe the team he will not be afraid to make changes.

Wolff joined Mercedes from Williams over the winter, buying a stake in the Mercedes Formula One team and taking over the responsibilities previously held by Norbert Haug. Having invested in the team, he said failure is not an option.

"As they know I have put my neck on the line they know that I have no room for failure," Wolff told Formula One's official website. "Not only have I taken a personal risk by leaving Williams - where I have enjoyed working - but there is also a financial and economic side to it. There is a huge amount of trust on both sides and I am very happy having joined."

Wolff said he would not be afraid to make changes once he has a better understanding of the way the team operates.

"I have taken up the responsibility so it is important to get a feeling for the people, and I have a good feeling for most of them. If it is not going in the direction I want, I will implement the structure that I think will work.

"Power is not the issue - understanding the structure and making the right decisions is the core. I don't right now, but I am there to represent Mercedes, I am there as a shareholder and I will do everything it needs to make this team successful. First it is watch and listen, and then I will give my opinion and execute my opinion."

Asked what would represent a good first year for him, Wolff said: "If the team finishes in the top four and is a regular frontrunner and we win the DTM."

In his previous job, Wolff was being lined up as a likely replacement for Sir Frank Williams and still has a shareholding in the Williams F1 team. But Wolff said the split with Williams had left no bad feelings with his old team and his move had the blessing of Sir Frank.

"I was there for three years and in various operational roles in the last year and people started to trust me," he said. "I was named as the successor. In reality there will never be a successor to Frank Williams, but I was meant to run the team. How was I going to tell Frank? That was really hard.

"I gave myself one week to see how I felt and after the third day I almost decided to stay at Williams. I like the people there so much - everybody, from the race team, to the marketing department to Frank himself. They all have been somewhat part of my family and to tell them that I was leaving was very hard. But then the opportunity is so huge. I spoke to the board and there was not one bad feeling - they all wished me luck and my relationship with them is completely intact. Frank's first comment was 'that's interesting. I would do the same if such an opportunity came my way!' So here we are!"

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Feeds Feeds: ESPN Staff

ESPN Staff Close