Formula 1 | Wolff cleaning the Mercedes F1 hospitality toilets

As the saying goes, the devil is in the details; but also perfection, Toto Wolff would add.

In an interview with the Harvard Business Review, the Mercedes F1 team boss explained how fundamental he is to the operation of Brackley and Brixworth.

Toto Wolff gave two particularly revealing anecdotes on this subject.

The first takes place during his first visit to the Brackley factory (chassis factory) in England. When Toto Wolff saw the magazines on display in the reception room at the entrance to the factory… something made him bend.

“On the table was a crumpled copy of the previous week’s Daily Mail and two old paper coffee cups. »

Later, Toto Wolff spoke with someone who has not been named but could be Ross Brawn or Nobert Haug, who he will replace as the team’s CEO.

“I went to the office to meet him and at the end of our conversation I told him, ‘I look forward to working with you. But there’s one thing: you don’t see the mention or the term “F1” in the reception, and if we want to win, that’s where we have to start. He said, “It’s the engineering that won us,” and I said, “No, it’s the attitude.” It all starts with paying attention to details.”

Toto Wolff cleaning toilets

A second anecdote showing Toto Wolff’s attention to detail is equally revealing – and really fun.

This time, Toto Wolff saw the state of Mercedes’ welcoming toilets during the Grand Prix weekend.

“It was dirty and I thought it was impossible. Race weekend is our home and where our sponsors come with their families. »

Wolff then hired a full-time hygiene manager, Miguel Guerreiro. And taught him, brush in hand, how to properly clean toilets!

“I physically show him how I want him to clean the toilet, how to put the brush away, how to mop the floor, how to put the soap bottles in front of his face, how to disinfect the handles, etc. I showed I tell him what I want to do during the week and when he’s busy on Sundays he’s right next to the bathroom and makes sure it’s spotless after every client. »

“When we entered the garage 10 years ago, it was a mess… Now we clean the floor every time the car enters. You won’t see any tire tracks, any moved tools. Everything is flawless and organized. I think it also affects how we look at cars. We are meticulous. »

Toto hates losing

This attention to detail may seem maniacal, but in fact Toto Wolff intends to use his own words to get everything to his side in order to avoid the shame of losing.

“I can’t stand the insult we will face [en cas de défaite] and I will do my best to prevent it. I just can’t accept losing to someone. You should never believe that victory will follow. Instead, I’m always worried that it’s going to end – I’m staring at the abyss before the abyss. »

And Toto Wolff will remember the third anecdote: Sebastian Vettel’s victory at Silverstone on Mercedes soil in 2018.

“On the holiday lap, Vettel told his team on the radio in Italian, ‘We won at home!’ said something like This is such an insult. It’s also the best thing that could happen to us. We played this sequence on a loop in our factory. And at the end of the season, we became champions again. »

“For me, the joy of winning is usually much less than the pain of defeat. The fear of losing remains with me. And it’s useful – I’d never want to get used to it. »

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