Q&A with Toto Wolff: Formula 1 Launch For W09
For the launch of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 W09, Toto Wolff (Team Principal & CEO of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport) spoke to the media and broadcasters all about the upcoming 2018 Formula 1 season, team-mates, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas including contract negotiations however the main focus was on the W09 and the dedication from the team.
See the full press conference below – including a video feature too.
Q&A With Toto Wolff
Question: How was the atmosphere in Brackley and Brixworth last week? Did you have a good winter?
Toto Wolff: “It is always a very exciting time because what has been designers is coming together and coming alive. It’s never going to be completely seamless or smooth when you are trying to push the boundaries. We’ve had a good winter, I would say, no real drama but it was a lot of hard work for everyone in the team.”
Question: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport won last year’s Constructors Championship by 146 points with Lewis winning the Drivers’ title by 46 points. How does that influence the team’s approach to the new season?
Toto Wolff: “We’re extremely happy and proud of last year’s titles but for the new season, all points go back to zero. A success of the past is in no way a guarantee for success in the future. I’m very happy to be a part of a team that is well aware of the fact and always stays humble about it’s achievements. At the same time, we’re extremely motivated and energised – we’re ready to go out there and start racing again, hopefully will be in the fight for the title again this year.”
Question: You famously called last year’s car “a bit of a diva” – will the new car be a diva as well?
Toto Wolff: “We like some of the character traits from our diva. The W08 was the fastest car on the grid, scoring the highest number of points, pole positions and winning the most races last year so we were careful to not lose the car’s many strengths just to overcome the difficulties.”
Question: The new season sees Formula One travelling to Germany and France while the sport said goodbye to Malaysia in 2017 after 19 years. What are your thoughts on this calendar?
Toto Wolff: “I’m going to miss Malaysia. It’s the home of our title sponsor partner, Petronas and it’s sad that we won’t be going back to Sepang this year. For the new races that will be on the calendar, I’m happy that we will go back to Germany. It’s just a two-hour drive from Stuggart so it’s a home race for Mercedes and we hope that many of our Daimler friends can join us at the race. Regarding Paul-Ricard, there’s obviously worse places to be than the south of France for summer!”
Question: Let’s talk drivers. 2018 will be Lewis’ sixth season with Mercedes, what is your view of his time with the team so far?
Toto Wolff: “Lewis is an incredible driver, the best of our time. What he has achieved together with Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport is remarkable. Three drivers’ championship titles, four constructors championships, 41 race wins in five years – in addition to his performance on-track, he has become and important figurehead in the team outside of the race car as well.”
Question: Valtteri’s First year with Mercedes was a bit of a mixed bag. What do you expect of the new season?
Toto Wolff: “Valtteri had a great start in 2017 having been drafter in at the last minute, with highlights in Sochi and Austria. After the summer things became a little bit more difficult but he came back very strong and Valtteri has learned a lot, racing against the best Formula One driver of the current day and age.”
Addition – When Toto Wolff was asked about the halo he answered “if I had a chainsaw, I would cut it off – I don’t like it“.
See the video from the W09 launch below.