(GMM) Toto Wolff says he has no problem being the target of Formula 1’s political shark-tank at present.
The Mercedes boss is being blasted by all sides at present, particularly on the topic of Mercedes’ struggles with the ‘porpoising’ phenomenon and Wolff’s supposed efforts to drive the FIA’s clampdown.
He has even been accused of abusing his connections with Shaila-Ann Rao, Wolff’s former lawyer and advisor, to respond to the topic.
Rival teams suspect Mercedes was tipped off about the clampdown by the newly-appointed FIA secretary-general.
“It’s bloody dangerous,” said former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone.
“Toto started all this nonsense about the cars needing to change. She (Rao) told them about the new directive, obviously. She worked with Toto for two or three years.”
Wolff, however, insists he is more than used to the slings and arrows of F1.
“I’m right in my comfort zone,” he laughed to Osterreich newspaper.
“Everyone has been against me my whole life, but that’s where I function best. And if everyone is against me, that means I must have hit on something.”
However, he slammed suggestions that his links to FIA secretary-general Rao explains why Mercedes was able to so quickly react to the new porpoising clampdown in Montreal.
“First, she is a lawyer with total integrity,” the Austrian insists.
“Secondly, the team bosses influenced their drivers so that they don’t admit in public that this bouncing is a health problem.
“At least one driver in every team has said publicly that he has pain or a headache or poor vision when driving and the bosses all act as though it’s nothing.
“That is irresponsible,” said Wolff.
But Dr Helmut Marko, a top Red Bull official and fellow Austrian, thinks the current anti-Wolff sentiment just shows how much Mercedes is missing Niki Lauda.
“That’s Helmut,” Wolff responded. “He’s always teasing and that’s ok.
“It is true that Niki is missing. I miss him as a friend and a sparring partner and chairman. Believe me, I would rather fight with Niki than fight alone.”