Toto Wolff says Mercedes’ remarkable success in F1 hasn’t diminished the “sceptical” nature of its staff, a trait that perennially keeps the Brackley squad on its toes according to the Austrian.
Last year, Mercedes wrapped up its seventh consecutive series of Constructors and Drivers’ titles, the German outfit continuing a relentless domination that started in 2014, when F1 ushered in the era of the hybrid engine.
Wolff typically plays down Mercedes strengths on the eve of a race weekend, insisting his troops do not take their hard-earned success for granted. The Austrian even goes as far as to say that there’s an element of surprise in every win or performance achieved by F1’s top team.
“Every year, performances that are similar to the ones that we had [in 2020] come as a surprise, because by nature, we are sceptical people,” Wolff told Autosport.com.
“That keeps us on our toes for the targets that we set ourselves, and we are always a little bit behind.
“In that respect, we are all pleasantly surprised when we get out of the blocks and see that we are in a good position. But that scepticism and pessimism around our own performance level continues to haunt us during all of the seasons.
“We’re never quite sure that we make it, until it’s really done. And we are not fishing for compliments here. It’s simply the attitude we have.”
Mercedes’ closest challengers since 2014 have been Ferrari and Red Bull, but neither outfit has succeeded in giving the German team a proper run for its money over the duration of a season.
Read also: Facetious Mercedes mocks media praise for Red Bull’s Newey
Wolff says he can’t clearly identify why Mercedes’ rivals can’t consistently take the fight to the Black Arrows duo.
“We respect our competitors, and we have great respect for the people in those teams,” he said.
“I see these guys in the paddock and I know that they’re giving it everything, in the same way we are giving it everything.
“I cannot really look into other organisations, and that’s why it’s very difficult for me to pinpoint where their weaknesses lie or where we have advantages.
“I just know we are a good place to work, we are a fun place, but we are also a place that puts pressure on ourselves.
“We are able though to strike the balance between pressure making a pipe burst or producing a diamond,” added Wolff.
“And that is something that you can’t put on a PowerPoint presentation. This is something that you need to live every day.
“You need to empower. You need to be a safe place for the employees. You need to allow them to speak up, to make mistakes and have the right values. And all that can only be built up over time.”
Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers
Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter