Date published: November 6 2019
Ferrari may have developed a qualy advantage over Mercedes in 2019, but Toto Wolff says he gets “10 times the amount of WhatsApps and SMSs” for wins over poles anyway.
The Silver Arrows wrapped up a sixth consecutive Constructors’ Championship at the Japanese GP, while P2 for Lewis Hamilton in Austin secured his and the team’s sixth straight Drivers’ title.
And although qualifying has been a source of frustration for the Mercedes boss, Wolff revealed that he gets ten times as many messages for wins than poles – his team love the thrill of the fight on Sundays.
“We like the fight a lot, and you can see you celebrate the races that are really tough and you are able to win,” he told Autosport.com.
“And when we don’t qualify on pole but we are able to win the race on Sunday I get 10 times the amount of WhatsApps and SMSs than I get if we’re on pole.
“Everybody wants to see a fight out there, and this is what keeps us going.
“So we need these guys strong, competitive, playing with the same rules, and then it’s what we love doing.”
The German manufacturer have arguably had to work harder for title number six than for any of their previous crowns, and Wolff believes the key to doing the double again was making the fewest mistakes on race day.
“Every championship seems like the hardest,” he said. “It may be because we are protected by our memory, but certainly this year had its up and downs.
“We came out of the block very strong, didn’t have the quickest package on Saturday for a long time, but we able to make the least mistakes on Sunday.
“And that was probably the biggest key to making us win the championship.
“Obviously for me, the highlight is Austin, we came back to old form, winning the title decider with Valtteri, and winning the championship with Lewis with strong pace is for me the highlight of the season.”
Mercedes were also rocked by the passing of Niki Lauda earlier in the year, and Wolff made it clear that Lauda was a “big part” of their close-knit team.
“I think the strength of this team is that every single individual, competent playing in his position, contributes to the overall success of the team,” Wolff explained.
“I don’t want to sound like a politician, but it’s really the backbone of this team – that we have so many good people.
“Niki had a big part in it, and I’m missing him as a friend, and I’m missing him as a sparring partner, and a travel companion.
“By now he would stand there at the [motorhome] bar and say: ‘Lauda is flying, come on, finish the press, we gotta go.’
“And say, ‘Well congratulations, what are we doing next year? I think we have not been too competitive in the last few races.’
“And that is missing, that pressure.
“But apart from that what you see on the race track is the tip of the iceberg, lots of performances being made back in the UK.
“It’s just overall a really good team effort.”