Mercedes Motorsport Boss Toto Wolff has stepped down in his role as manager to newly recruited driver Valtteri Bottas, to avoid any conflict of interest now that the Finn will driver for Mercedes.
Along with partners Didier Coton and double world champion Mika Hakkinen, Wolff set up his driver management company whilst still working at Williams, where Bottas was just beginning to forge out his career in F1, and the Austrian signed him onto the company’s books, having been well aware of his already proven record in the junior formulae’s.
It has been a successful partnership so far, but despite the Mercedes board having no problem with the arrangement, as Wolff had no direct involvement with the Finn’s career, now that Bottas will drive for the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team, Wolff feels it would be unfair of him to have an extra interest in one of the squad’s drivers, and so has relinquished his management role of the 27-year-old, as he explained to Sky Sports recently.
“It would be a conflict of interest to be involved in the management of a driver and equally being his boss and running the team.
“It’s something we agreed a long time ago that there wouldn’t be a driver that I’m looking after driving in any Mercedes racing car. And that’s what’s happening.”
Bottas had always been the clear favourite to replace Nico Rosberg, when the German retired from the sport unexpectedly, just days after winning the 2016 world championship, and has been given one year to prove his worth at the German squad.