F1 boss Wolff reveals he studied Man United’s failures to improve his team

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Formula 1 team principal Toto Wolff has admitted he studied Manchester United’s failures in order to improve his record-breaking Mercedes team.

Wolff’s record of eight consecutive constructors titles at Mercedes is almost unparalleled in sport, except for maybe Sir Alex Ferguson’s record at Old Trafford.

Mercedes period of dominance has set a new standard in F1

GETTY

Mercedes period of dominance has set a new standard in F1

Ferguson’s record also looks unbeatable

getty

Ferguson’s record also looks unbeatable

The 50-year-old Austrian took over the running of the Brackley-based F1 squad in 2014, winning their first title since 1955 with Lewis Hamilton, and has gone on to repeat the feat in every following season.

Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have collected a combined seven drivers’ championships, while Mercedes took an eighth constructors crown even with Max Verstappen winning the individual award last season.

Those eight titles make the longest consecutive run in F1 history, with Ferrari only managing six back-to-back championships, and now Mercedes sit joint-third in the all-time list of total titles.

That streak looks almost certain to come to an end this year though, with Red Bull and Ferrari far quicker than Mercedes, but Wolff doesn’t want to make the same mistakes as United.

The Manchester giants won a record 13 Premier League titles under legendary manager Ferguson, but since his departure in 2013 they haven’t come close.

That can be used as a lesson with Wolff discussing the club in an interview with the Financial Times.

Only Sir Frank Williams has more titles as a team principal than Wolff

AFP

Only Sir Frank Williams has more titles as a team principal than Wolff


“I studied why great teams were not able to repeat great title [runs],” he said in reference to Ferguson’s United.

“No sports team in any sport has ever won eight consecutive World Championship titles and there are many reasons for that, and what is at the core is the human.

“The human gets complacent. You are not energised in the same way you were before. You are maybe not as ambitious.

“I often get the question: ‘How hard is that?’

Mercedes have overcome their early season issues and are back taking regular podiums

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Mercedes have overcome their early season issues and are back taking regular podiums

“I had so many periods, so many episodes in my life that I would judge as difficult, that this is not on the same scale.

“I don’t think it’s challenging in a way because I’ve had much harder times in all of my life, not particularly in Formula 1, but this is actually within my comfort zone.”

Mercedes currently sit 137 points off of leaders Red Bull after a torrid start to the new era of aerodynamic regulations, ending any potential title fight from the Silver Arrows.

They’ve still managed to rack up more podium finishes than the vastly quicker Ferrari though, and Wolff says the learning process is important.

Wolff won’t let Mercedes fall off like United have

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Wolff won’t let Mercedes fall off like United have

“I would say I’m enjoying getting it wrong at the moment because it’s the basis for long-term future success, I believe,” he explained.

“We have had eight consecutive World Championships – that hasn’t been done in any other sport. And I think I know why.

“All these facets have come together to make things more challenging at the moment, but at the end of the day it comes down to physics and we got the physics wrong.

“We are still the same group of people with the same ambition, energy, tools, funding. Maybe we need to tweak here and there because psychology plays an important role, but I believe this team has all it needs to be successful but with no sense of entitlement. I want this to be a blip and not a longer-term phase of not being able to compete at the front.

“In a way we are control freaks. Sometimes I feel like a football coach: there’s a point where there’s nothing more you can do and you have to leave it to the players on the pitch to get the job done. That’s why when you’re there you have those reactions. Sometimes you need to push the pressure release valve.”

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