Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is to miss his first grand prix in six-and-a-half years this weekend following the latest double success of his all-conquering team.
With a sixth-successive constructors’ championship sewn up at the Japanese Grand Prix in October, and with Lewis Hamilton clinching his fifth drivers’ crown for the team at the last race in Austin, Wolff has decided to skip this weekend’s penultimate event of the season in Brazil.
The Austrian is instead to concentrate on what he has described as “other open topics”, that includes, among other things, helping to finalise the details of F1’s new wide-ranging technical and sporting regulations for 2021, while Mercedes also embark on their maiden Formula E season, that starts with a double-header in Saudi Arabia on November 22 and 23, which he is due to attend.
“We have two races to go in the 2019 season and we want to end this season on a high,” said Wolff, who has attended every race since the start of the 2013 season.
“The next stop takes us to Brazil which brings back fond memories from last year when we were not only able to win the race but also secure the constructors’ championship at Interlagos.
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) November 11, 2019
“Brazil will also be the first race since 2013 that I won’t attend. With both championships secured, it gives me more time in Europe to focus on other open topics.
“It’s great to be able to do this and to know that the team will represent the three-pointed star in the best way possible both on and off the track.”
Despite Mercedes setting a new F1 record in winning both championships for a sixth-consecutive year, Wolff has made clear he is hungry to continue such dominance, and there will be no let up in his team’s pursuit of doing so.
Following the celebrations that took place at the team’s headquarters in Brixworth and Brackley last week, Wolff paid tribute to the “1,500 men and women that form this amazing team and made this extraordinary success possible”.
He added: “It is always a special moment, and this year’s was particularly special as our sixth consecutive double sets a new benchmark in our sport.
“But despite this record-breaking achievement, I still feel a lot of hunger and desire for more achievements.
“There’s no sense of complacency, everybody is still determined to keep on improving. It’s an inspiring group of people that fully lives up to the Mercedes aspiration of being the best.”
This season Wolff has been touted as a leading candidate to take charge of F1, with chief executive Chase Carey’s contract up for renewal at the end of next season.
But speaking to the PA news agency, Wolff said: “I haven’t given it consideration, and certainly have not had any concrete discussions about running Formula One.
“I really like what I do. Running a sports team from the commercial and financial side, and from a lap-time perspective, is exciting because the stopwatch never lies. I like that honesty about the sport.
“At the same time, it is important to be committed to what you do. If you think about the next thing, you are not going to give it 100 per cent any more, and I have never done that.”