Toto Wolff believes the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport team could survive and still be a success in Formula 1 if any of the senior technical team were to leave the outfit.
Mercedes survived the departure of Paddy Lowe to the Williams Martini Racing ahead of the 2017 season to capture both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles, and Wolff, the Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport has put a lot of emphasis on ensuring they develop their staff in-house to ensure they are not left vulnerable should anyone depart.
The team have a backbone of senior employees including James Allison, who is the head of the chassis development team that also includes the likes of Aldo Costa, Geoff Willis, Mark Ellis and John Owen, and Andy Cowell, who heads up the engine department.
“In the Formula 1 team, because of the ever-changing regulatory environment and the challenges you face, it is not a static structure, it is dynamic,” said Wolff to Motorsport.com. “You can’t freeze an organisation because it is successful.
“You need to look after the next generation of leaders, you need to adapt to new challenges. And therefore you will see this organisation develop and younger engineers and mechanics and management coming up.
“This organisation is not dependent on a single individual, not Paddy, not James, not Andy, not myself, nobody. We have a strong base of individuals that do a tremendous job that would deserve much more external visibility and external recognition for the awesome jobs they do.
“And therefore you can say that when a highly senior person leaves the team or there is a change in the senior personnel, it will not affect the organisation because the base is so strong.”
Wolff says it was important to leave his influence on the team by creating a team that was able to take Mercedes to the next level, with the current set-up having secured four consecutive Driver and Constructor Championship triumphs.
“What we’re seeing is that if the current generation of senior leaders in the team would leave, the team needs to be as strong afterwards in a really different way because you will not replace a James or a Andy or a Mark Ellis or an Aldo Costa,” said Wolff.
“They are just very special people. but eventually the next generations are going to come up with their own set of skills, with their own personality and will be able to develop the team from strength-to-strength.
“My personal challenge is if I call it a day one day I would want to know that this team can do better without me.”