Mercedes boss Toto Wolff insists the thought of walking away from Formula 1 amid the team’s current struggles hasn’t crossed his mind, as he knuckles down to help its recovery.
The German car manufacturer has endured a tough start to the 2022 campaign, with its porpoising W13 proving to be no match for the pace-setting Ferrari and Red Bull cars.
Its season hit a low at Imola last weekend as neither of its drivers made it through to Q3 in qualifying, and Lewis Hamilton endured a torrid race as he failed to make any progress and ended up 13th.
After the chequered flag, Wolff apologised on the team radio to Hamilton for having given him an ‘undriveable’ car, as he promised the seven-time champion that the squad would find a way out of its problems.
With Mercedes coming off the back of eight consecutive F1 constructors’ championships, Wolff has had plenty of opportunity to have sold his shareholding in the squad and walk away from grand prix racing undefeated.
However, when suggested if, during the current dark spell, he had pondered that he should have cashed out his millions to retire to the Maldives, Wolff made clear just how committed he is.
“The problem is that I'm dead in the Maldives without what I'm doing here,” explained Wolff. “The activity in the team, developing the team, is what I really enjoy.
“Formula 1 is booming. On the revenue side, things are going very well and this is what I actually want to do all my life.
“In that respect, the question hasn't arisen until now to say: that's it.
“It would be like a project manager or an employee saying: 'I've done this now, I'll go out with the best record and that's it.' But it doesn't stop with me. It's going on.”
With Mercedes facing its most difficult campaign in the turbo hybrid era, Wolff says that the form this season has been an important learning exercise about nobody in F1 being invincible.
For while the team has got its 2022 car wrong, he has faith that the same engineers can turn things around and make rapid progress.
Asked if he felt the team’s staff had lost their ability, Wolff said: “My spontaneous answer would be: you can't unlearn it. But then the track teaches us something else.
“It's also about always staying humble, and that's what we are, and saying: ‘Shit, we really got it wrong.’ You have to accept that now.
“Where did we go wrong? In my time, we did eight out of eight strikes and now we've really gone wrong. It's not like we're just three tenths off.
“But in terms of our personality development, and the values in our team, as bad as it feels, this is an important development. There is no one who is infallible. We're seeing that right now. But the team is capable of turning things around.”