Wolff would trade Mercedes profits for race victories

Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director on the grid. 29.04.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 4, Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Baku Street Circuit, Azerbaijan, Sprint Day. - www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images
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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says that the millions of pounds in business profits made by the squad are nothing compared to the satisfaction and sense of achievement from finding success on the track.

Wolff co-owns the race team along with German automotive giant Daimler and multinational chemicals company INEOS making it one of the best funded and financially secure operations on the F1 grid.

But for all the money that its power units bring in, Wolff says he would trade it all in for a return to the successful ways that propelled it to eight consecutive constructors championships between 2014 and 2021.

Since Lewis Hamilton narrowly lost out on the 2021 drivers title, the advantage has firmly swung in favour of Red Bull which is currently romping away to this year's championship virtually unopposed.

Mercedes has one just one race in the last 30 Grand Prix races when George Russell was victorious in Brazil, its leanest spell in modern F1, and Wolff was not about to belittle it as a temporary glitch.

(L to R): Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director with Jim Ratcliffe (GBR) Chief Executive Officer of Ineos / Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder on the grid.
28.05.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo, Monaco, Race Day.
- www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

“It is significant, and I would give up every profit just to win on track,” Wolff said when asked how it felt to be second best on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street market news magazine programme.

“For a normal business owner that may sound crazy but it’s how we are calibrated. It’s the stopwatch that counts, less so the P and L," he added, using market speak for 'profit and loss'.

“Mercedes dominated for a long time, we won eight consecutive championships, and now Red Bull is just doing a better job," he admitted. “Now the cost cap has changed everything in our environment.

"We’re not allowed to spend above a certain amount," he continued, meaning that they couldn't spend their way out of technical problems as they had done in the past.

But the budget cap had been a positive factor elsewhere: "We've become a sustainable business case as well," he noted

“It’s a meritocracy. Best engineering wins, and as long as you respect the rules – the technical, sporting, and financial rules – we just need to stretch ourselves and beat them.”

Teams have also benefitted from spiralling market capitalisations thanks to the explosive growth in F1's popularity. However there are concerns that Red Bull's total domination in 2023 will impact F1's popularity.

“People want variability and unpredictability," Wolff acknowledged. “In our business, entertainment follows sport. We have rules, and the one who is beating everybody else under the current rules merits the win.

“Clearly we’d like to have different winners, but again it’s our task to beat them - not create a scripted series.”

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates his third position in parc ferme.
04.06.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 8, Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona, Spain, Race Day.
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Mercedes have brought in new upgrades at the most recent two races in Monaco and Barcelona, with Russell and Hamilton finishing on the podium together alongside Max verstappen for the first time this season.

“We had a good result coming second and third," said Wolff, agreeing that it looked promising for Mercedes going forward. "It’s just a matter of time, I’ve no doubt about it.

“We’ve done a few missteps on the engineering side, on technical decisions, but it’s physics not mystics, and therefore we will be coming back," he insisted, saying the team would benefit from having “a solid, new baseline” in Montreal.

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