Toto Wolff (born 12 January 1972) is an Austrian investor and former racing driver. He holds a 30% share in Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport Formula One Team and is Team Principal and CEO of the team. He was formerly a shareholder of Williams F1.
Wolff began his motorsport career in the Austrian Formula Ford Championship and the German Formula Ford Series. He won his category in the 1994 24 Hours Nürburgring and later competed in the FIA GT Championship and Italian GT Championship.
As an investor, Wolff founded Marchfifteen in 1998 and Marchsixteen Investments in 2004, initially focusing on Internet and technology companies. He specialises in strategic investments in medium-sized industrial and listed companies, which have included Williams F1 and German HWA AG.
Early life[edit | edit source]
Wolff was born on 12 January 1972 in Vienna to a Polish mother and an Austrian father of Romanian origin. Wolff was educated in a French school in Vienna despite not coming from a wealthy family. Wolff's father was diagnosed with brain cancer when Wolff was eight years old. His parents separated following his father's diagnosis. His father died of the disease during Wolff's adolescence.
Motorsport[edit | edit source]
Wolff started his motorsport career in 1992 in the Austrian Formula Ford Championship, driving in Austrian and German Formula Ford in 1993 and 1994. In 1994, he won the 24 Hours Nürburgring in his category. In 2002 Wolff finished in sixth place in the N-GT category in the FIA GT Championship and won one race. He switched to the Italian GT Championship in 2003, winning a race in 2004 with Lorenzo Case, while also teaming with Karl Wendlinger in the FIA GT Championship. Wolff was runner up in the Austrian Rally Championship in 2006, and winner of the 24-hour race in Dubai. Wolff has also served as an instructor at the Walter Lechner Racing School and in 2009 became a lap-record holder on the Nürburgring Nordschleife in a Porsche RSR.
Investor[edit | edit source]
Wolff founded investment companies Marchfifteen (1998) and Marchsixteen (2004), both of which initially focused on internet and technology company investments.
Since 2003, Wolff has concentrated on strategic investments in medium-sized industrial and listed companies. Investments include the German HWA AG, in which Wolff bought a 49% stake in 2006 listing the company on the stock exchange in 2007. The company runs the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters race program for Mercedes-Benz, developing F3 engines and the Gullwing Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 racing car.
Other investments include BRR Rallye Racing, one of the largest rally parts dealers in Europe. Wolff is also co-owner of a sports management company with former F1 driver Mika Häkkinen and was involved in the management of racing drivers such as Bruno Spengler, Alexandre Prémat and Valtteri Bottas.
In April 2020, Wolff acquired a 0.95% stake in Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings plc as a financial investment. Wolff's partnership and operational role with Mercedes are unaffected by this transaction.
In June 2020, Wolff repurchased a 5% stake in Williams F1.
Formula One[edit | edit source]
In 2009, Wolff bought a share of the Williams Formula One Team and joined the board of directors. In 2012, he was named executive director of Williams F1 and the team took its last race win to date at that year's Spanish Grand Prix with Pastor Maldonado.
In January 2013, Wolff left Williams F1 to become an executive director of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team, with his business partner Rene Berger becoming non-executive director. In addition to joining the team as managing partner, he also acquired 30% of Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd, with a further 10% held by Niki Lauda and 60% by the parent company.
Wolff took over the co-ordination of all Mercedes-Benz motorsport activities, a responsibility previously held by Norbert Haug. In 2014, Wolff sold two-thirds of his Williams shares to American businessman Brad Hollinger. On 9 March 2016, Wolff sold his remaining shares in the Williams team.
As co-owner of both WilliamsF1 (where wife Susie worked as a test driver until November 2015) and Mercedes Grand Prix, Wolff celebrated numerous podiums and successes for both teams, such as a 1–2–3–4 finish at Spielberg, Austria in his 'home race', as well as at Monza, Italy, in both Qualifying and Race classifications.
In 2018, Mercedes won its fifth consecutive double world championship, equalling the all-time record set by Ferrari between 2000 and 2004. Wolff's achievements were recognised through the presentation of a John Bolster Award from Todt at the 2018 Autosport Awards. Wolff subsequently received the President's Award from Todt, along with team non-executive Chairman Niki Lauda, at the 2018 FIA Prize Giving Gala held in St Petersburg, Russia.
2018 proved the most successful motorsport year in the history of Mercedes-Benz. The company won both F1 titles, F2 with George Russell, European F3 with Mick Schumacher, all three titles in its final season of DTM competition with Gary Paffett securing the drivers' title, both F1 eSports titles and numerous championships in customer racing.
For 2019, Mercedes continued its run of success by securing a sixth consecutive double world championship at the Japanese GP, when the team secured the Constructors' title and only one of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas could still become Drivers' champion. This is an unprecedented achievement in the history of the sport. As of 2019, Wolff is the only Team Principal who has won more than five consecutive double world championships.
Since the introduction of the turbo hybrid regulations in 2014, Mercedes has won 91 of 123 races under Wolff's leadership. The team has taken 96 of 123 pole positions, 58 front-row lockouts and 182 from 246 possible podium finishes. Since Wolff joined Mercedes in 2013, the team has achieved a winning percentage of 66%.
Philanthropy[edit | edit source]
Wolff is vice chairman of the Mary Bendet Foundation, founded in memory of a school friend who was a role model for a generation of friends. The Foundation strives to make life better for underprivileged children. Its projects include improving living conditions in day-care centre, dormitories and playgrounds; creating joyful environments such as rehearsal studios; supporting talent by sponsoring scholarships; and inaugurating centres for blind and handicapped children to better prepare them for life in everyday society.
Personal life[edit | edit source]
Wolff lives with his second wife, the Scottish racer Susie Wolff (née Stoddart) between homes in Oxfordshire, England and Ermatingen at Lake Constance, Switzerland. On 11 April 2017, Susie announced on Twitter that she had given birth to their first child the previous day.
Because Wolff's team backs the Mercedes EQ Formula E Team, he occasionally attends Formula E races.
Wolff speaks fluent German, English, French, Italian, and Polish. He has two children from a previous marriage.