QUICK CHAT: Toto Wolff
Toto, Formula 1 is now about to start its summer break. After twelve races, how would you sum up the season so far?
Toto Wolff: The battle at the top is more exciting than ever before, and things are also very tight in the midfield. The races have not only produced some great wheel-to-wheel action on the track but also some surprise winners: seven of the twelve races so far were not necessarily won by the fastest car. All in all, I would say that the 2018 season has been a marvellous advertisement for the sport. For us as a team, the half-term report is a positive one, as we are currently leading both world championships. We owe this to the efforts of our team in Brackley and Brixworth and to the driving skills of Lewis and Valtteri. At the same time, though, we also realise that we have dropped points in more than one race, so we are going flat out to boost performance even more for the second half of the season. We will be working very hard on that right up to the weekend when the summer break officially begins as decreed by the regulations. It's a break that everyone on our team has more than earned. We will then come back refreshed with the necessary energy to raise our game even further in the second half of the season.
And how are things looking in the DTM?
Toto Wolff: In the DTM, we currently lead all three championships - an excellent achievement by the team in Affalterbach! Before the season began, we promised the fans that our final season in the DTM would be as successful as we could make it, and in that regard, we have kept our word. The performance of the car is very encouraging, and the same goes for our drivers. Each of them has had some memorable moments, and several of them are in contention for the title. But we also know that you have to go one step at a time in racing. In such a highly competitive series as the DTM, every last detail counts - and a single mistake can be costly. That's why we're keeping our feet on the ground and facing each race weekend as a new challenge. Next week, we go to Brands Hatch where the team will compete on the Grand Prix Circuit. I'm sure it will be a real experience for any racer to be driving on that particular track - one that rewards not only the best technical package but also driving skills and courage. We still have five race weekends left in our final DTM season, and we intend to make every one of them a memorable occasion.
Towards the end of 2019, Mercedes will be entering Formula E for the first time, and the name of the team has recently been decided: Mercedes EQ Formula E Team. What else have you to tell us on that front?
Toto Wolff: Our involvement in Formula E is taking on ever more concrete forms. In addition to the name and the announcement of SAP as our first partner, we have also made some decisions on how best to integrate the team into our current motorsport activities so that we can draw on our existing expertise. For example, we will develop the powertrain at HPP in Brixworth where our Formula 1 engines are already being built. This will allow us to make use of the expertise that we have already acquired there in the design of Formula 1 hybrid engines. Brackley, where our chassis for Formula 1 is built, will also be helping to develop the Formula E team. The racing side will be managed by HWA AG who are already doing an excellent job for us in the DTM. The team based in Affalterbach will be contesting Formula E with effect from the coming season, initially as a Venturi customer team, so as to familiarise themselves with the series. The more concrete our plans become for our involvement in Formula E, the more we relish the prospect of this new challenge.