Mercedes using psychologists to ensure further F1 success

With the German car manufacturer having secured a fifth consecutive F1 title double, the biggest challenge the team faces is in trying to seek further gains to fight off the ever-closing opposition.

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff insists that keeping motivation up is not a problem, but where he thinks it can do more is in ensuring that all its personnel operate at the best of their potential all the time.

“I don’t think complacency was ever a factor within our team, because the group is very motivated and we set objectives together that we are passionate about,” explained Wolff.

“It is more about how can you maintain those levels of energy. Sometimes a level of energy can become unhealthy and that is an area that we are putting a lot of effort into in order to be able to continuously perform at these levels.

“As an organisation we are looking at the working environment. We are looking at nutrition, we are looking at sleep, we are looking at medical support, we are looking at sports, and we are looking at giving days off, sending people home, if we feel they are not in a good frame of mind.

“We are looking at psychologists, we are looking at mindfulness at the team. I could speak here for another hour and say what we are doing.”

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Wolff thinks that it is essential Mercedes does not neglect those working away behind the scenes – whether they are at races and remain at the factory.

“In a modern advanced organisation like a sports team that is travelling to 21 grands prix every year, you need to be aware that the humans are your key resource,” he said.

“It is not about the one that talks [to the media] and speaks to the car, or the one that sits in the car. It is the 1800 that sit in the background and have to perform every single day and have to be better than the opposite number in the other team. We have to look after them and us.”

One of the qualities that has helped Mercedes, Wolff believes, is that individuals know how to best use their skills within the organisation – rather than try to do everything themselves.

“We are trying to really act not like a group of five years old who play football where everybody runs behind the ball, we are trying to let the ball run,” said Wolff.

“All of us within their area of expertise are trying to do a better job than their opposite number at Ferrari, or McLaren, or Williams or wherever it is. This is what I am benchmarking myself against and against my own expectation.

“Obviously you set your sights on what is happening next year: how can I improve, where do I want to be better, and that transcends into my whole life, whether it is my private life or my business life.”

Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 in the garage

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Sutton Images