Wolff: Talks over becoming F1 boss ‘never went anywhere’

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says initials talks over potentially running Formula 1 “never went anywhere”, but doubts Ferrari would have allowed him to head up the series.

Liberty Media announced on Friday that ex-Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali would become the new CEO and president of F1 from January, taking over from Chase Carey.

Carey will become a non-executive director of F1 after almost four years in charge, having taken over from Bernie Ecclestone as CEO in January 2017.

Mercedes F1 boss Wolff was regularly linked with a move to Liberty in recent years as part of the future leadership plan following Carey’s exit.

Asked if he ever put his hat into the ring for the job at the top of F1, Wolff said that he did not, and that early talks with Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei did not go very far.

“No. I didn’t,” Wolff said. “I think everybody knows that there were some initial discussions with Greg, and it never went anywhere.

“We get on well. I respect Greg Maffei a lot for what he has achieved.

“But I love where I am, and I found out that I love the stopwatch so much, the competition and the racing, that where I am today, co-owner of the team with Mercedes, I have to pinch myself every single day.

“At the end, it wouldn’t have gone anywhere anyway, because Ferrari wouldn’t have accepted that.”

Wolff’s links to the job running F1 led to concerns being raised by rivals, including Ferrari, whose CEO Louis Camilleri said in December that any key team personnel taking up a role with the championship would “automatically create conflicts of interest, perceived or otherwise”. 

The concerns prompted an agreement that no-one could be appointed by the series if they had worked for a team in the past two years.

Wolff said that he knew Ferrari would never have accepted him taking over at F1, but understood its position and thinking.

“That’s OK, they have this right,” Wolff said. “I respect it, absolutely. I would probably have had the same thoughts. At the end, maybe a different decision, because you’ve got to have the best guy to run the sport.

“But I think they have the best guy today. Stefano is just the real deal.”

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