Formula 1: Toto Wolff 'couldn't believe' the conditions he found at Mercedes on his first day


Toto Wolff has revealed that the Mercedes HQ reception when he walked in for the first time was littered with old newspapers and coffee cups, much to his surprise, in speaking to the High Performance Podcast.

Wolff arrived at Mercedes in 2013 after a few seasons with Williams and, of course, set in motion plans to make the Silver Arrows the leaders of the pack in Formula 1.

He’s certainly achieved that and then some, too, with seven straight Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles earned since between the 2014 and 2020 seasons.

Wolff, then, was on the High Performance Podcast to discuss a variety of different aspects to his life and success and revealed that attention to detail is one of the key attributes he and the team look to utilise – with him revealing this rather surprising anecdote from his first day at his new team:

“When I walked in the first time into Mercedes, it wasn’t what I want it to be.

“I walked in at reception and I sat down in the reception and it didn’t look like a Formula One team’s. There was an old Daily Mail on the table from the previous week and coffee cups still with dry coffee in them.


“I couldn’t believe that this was the Mercedes Formula One team. And now you may say, ‘how do dry coffee cups or an old Daily Mail impact on the performance of a Formula One team?’ But it shows an attitude. It shows attention to detail.

“And I think this is most important for a high-tech team and all these soft factors that many will ignore because it’s not data, it’s not aerodynamics, it’s not vehicle dynamics, it didn’t make a car fast, but all that is part of the values of a team.

“And, if everybody runs in the same direction, everybody acknowledges that attention to detail is important, then, eventually, the wheel is going to gain some momentum and that was my first experience of Mercedes F1.”


As Wolff says, perhaps they are minor things on the face of it but it’s an indicator perhaps of wider issues regarding professionalism, pride in your work and due care and attention to your job.

Certainly, in the years since you would not associate such problems with the all-conquering Brackley-based outfit and it’s these minor changes snowballing into a first-class attitude that has propelled Mercedes to the very forefront of Formula 1 in recent years.

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