Formula 1: Toto Wolff's key takeaways behind Mercedes' dominance

Brought to you by  The High Performance Podcast


When you think of the best current leaders in sport, Toto Wolff is never too far away from the top of the list.

Overseeing Mercedes' emergence at the forefront of Formula 1 and then, even more impressively, helping keep them there for seven straight years, has seen Wolff become rightly regarded as one of the greatest team bosses the sport has ever seen.

In that time, he's had to manage inter-team politics - particularly with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg going head-to-head - as well as the continued efforts of rival teams trying to get back in front and get an advantage over the Silver Arrows at the pinnacle of motorsport.

Clearly, this is a man who relishes the challenge of both competition and personnel management at the elite level, which is why his appearance on the High Performance Podcast is a must-listen.

If, though, you're looking for the key takeaways now before getting stuck into the full episode, we can help. As ever, GIVEMESPORT has picked out three key takeaways from the latest instalment of the High Performance Podcast...

Set, and meet, your own targets 

Firstly, Wolff explained that you should set out what success means to you as an individual and aim for that, rather than what another person might deem as success.

He explained that that can be strived for across all aspects of life, too, rather than just in terms of sport or business.


He explained, when asked what he thought high performance was: "High performance is scoring in the KPIs you set yourself. It's meeting my own expectations.

"What I am doing is always trying to not do anything for anybody else's perception, or anybody else's definition of success, but only for what I would judge us as a success in my own life.

"And it's not only about the sport of business. The most important part is having a successful marriage and a happy family life and everything else just comes much further down the line."

Attention to detail is vital

Secondly, Wolff discussed how the minor tweaks can often lead to bigger improvements and that attention to detail was critical.

He opened up on a story of when he first arrived at Mercedes to explain his point, where minor issues were changed to help spark an improved mentality across the 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."

Focus on a person's character

Finally, Wolff also focused in on how important it is for a person to have the right character.


He listed a handful of key traits he looks for in people to help his Mercedes team and many of them were based around honesty, authenticity and a real drive to succeed in your area.

"Most important is character traits. Integrity, loyalty, respect for the individual, attention to detail, fanatical obsession with what you do.

"I mean, I could sit here for half an hour and name what I think is important. This may vary from person to person, but I would say this is the core skeleton of the team."

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