Wolff admits to missing Lauda 'more than ever' in 2020

Niki Lauda (AUT) Mercedes Non-Executive Chairman with Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director.
© XPB 

Mercedes enjoyed a particularly dominant season in 2020 as they picked up a record seventh consecutive constructors championship.

But while it might have looked easy from the outside, team boss Toto Wolff has admitted that he still misses the support and advice he always got from Niki Lauda.

The three-time former F1 world champion was non-executive chairman of the team until he passed away in May 2019 just before the Monaco Grand Prix from kidney problems, months after undergoing a lung transplant.

Wolff said that Lauda had been more than just a colleague but a true friend and sounding board, and that he had missed having him around "more than ever this year".

"In 2019 I was almost in a state of shock that he had died and I just kept going," Wolff told the official Formula1.com website.

"I only really realised at the end of the year that my good friend was gone," he said. "My travelling buddy was gone and my confidant was gone.

"The structure we had was such a big part of my life: flying to races together, having our discussions, having dinner every single day.

“He would leave the circuit at four or five, then I’d turn up for dinner at 8pm and he would be there with his iPad saying he’d been sitting bored for an hour.

"He would leave for the circuit in the morning before any catering stuff was there," Wolff recalled. "He loved to work the first shift and I would take over the second shift

"I truly miss him, mostly as a friend but also as a confidant.”

Even without Lauda on hand in the paddock any longer, Wolff said that he felt he could accurately predict what the outspoken Austrian would probably say on most occasions.

“There have been situations this year where I’ve wished I could have had his opinion,” he said. "When I used to ask Niki about various situations, he would always respond with such certainty: ‘I think you should do this...'

“But in a funny way, when I ask myself, ‘What would you have done, Niki?’ the answer comes to me immediately, because he was so straightforward."

Wolff has recently extended his contract to stay at Mercedes as team principal for at least another three years and is one of three equal shareholders in the team along with Daimler and chemical giant INEOS.

The 48-year-old also has the "opportunity to transition to a new executive function within the organisation when he decides it is the right time to do so".

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