Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff is proud of the responsive and friendly working atmosphere that exists at championship winning outfit and due in part to a “no dickheads” philosophy inspired by the great All Blacks rugby team.
Mercedes’ outstanding engineering and organizational excellence has been at the forefront of the German manufacturer’s dominance of Formula 1 for the past seven seasons.
But as an astute operator, Wolff has helped instill a culture of collaboration and sociability at Brackley that has also been crucial to Mercedes success and stability.
Speaking to Formula1.com’s Will Buxton, Wolff recalled a moment in his early days with the Brackley squad that would come to define the team’s warm atmosphere.
“There is a lot of camaraderie, I would call it,” said the Austrian.
“I had a weird situation in 2015 when I moved to the UK and for my birthday on January 12th my wife Suzie said ‘who do you want to invite?’.
“The only people I could imagine inviting were my close confidants in the team. We ended up having a dinner with 10 or more colleagues of mine with their wives, and that shows how close we were straight from the get-go.”
Wolff said he harbored a genuine interest in his colleagues, an attentiveness that permeates through the team.
“I have a real interest in the people,” he added. “I like to spend a lot of time with them, understanding their struggles, their worries and also what motivates and challenges them.
“We care for each other in the team and I think this is being felt. But it’s not all schmoozing and we are all so happy with each other, there’s also a way of coping with pressure.
“It’s a safe environment. We have no hire-and-fire policy, we don’t blame each other.
“It can be heated, and that’s very important, diversity of opinion, but it never leads to a situation where we fall out with each other.
“If we fall out, that has been at the beginning, that means the characters didn’t fit to each other.”
Creating a positive atmosphere is an important undertaking. But sustaining year in and year out the productive and receptive environment is equally critical.
Wolff explained how the team resorted to a simple philosophy inspired by an adage promoted by New Zealand’s famed All Blacks rugby squad.
“We have a sports psychologist in the team called Ceri Evans who is also the sports psychologist for the All Blacks,” said the 48-year-old team boss.
“One of the mottos of the All Blacks is ‘No dickheads’! And we kind of took that philosophy to us as well.”
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Source: Formula 1 – F1I