F1 LIVE:Toto Wolff and the Mercedes F1 offer too good to turn down

It’s Drive to Survive release month – which means that here at GPFans, we’re taking a look back at some of the most significant storylines throughout the show’s history.

 

Five seasons of chaos and we’re sure to get even more of it when the sixth instalment premieres on 23 February – the last day of Formula 1’s 2024 pre-season test in Bahrain.

 

Here is the latest article where our editorial team go harking back to pivotal moments on the amazing docuseries…

 

 

Casting our eyes back to 2019 – Mercedes were in the middle of their seven year domination, having won five consecutive drivers’ and constructors’ championships.

 

Ferrari had just failed twice in pursuit of the Silver Arrows and were welcoming young gun Charles Leclerc to the team – so there were plenty of question marks at the top of the sport.

 

Daniel Ricciardo’s first season without Red Bull and Kimi Raikkonen’s first with Alfa Romeo – the story was set up for the season to be a classic.

 

The subsequent Mercedes domination was no massive surprise, as Ferrari failed to live up to expectations and Toto Wolff consolidated his team’s dynasty further.

 

 

In the fourth episode of season two, he delved into the effect that three-time Formula 1 champion Niki Lauda had on his career with the German manufacturer.

 

“Back in the day, this was a team that was not winning races,” Wolff said. “In the summer of 2012, Niki Lauda was asked to join the board and to help steer the team into a more successful trajectory.

 

“At the same time, Daimler approached me, [asking] whether I was interested in leading the team. And this was an offer that I couldn’t turn down.

 

“Niki [Lauda] was one of the greatest racing drivers that have ever existed. He has become a world champion and then almost died in a race car accident,” he continued.

 

“Half his body burned. Overcoming his own pain, coming back, winning a world championship made him very strong.”

 

After Niki Lauda’s passing on the weekend of the Monaco Grand Prix in 2019, Lewis Hamilton managed to win for his Mercedes team and dedicate the victory to the late great Lauda.

 

Another tremendous season in 2020 would follow, as Mercedes took their seventh consecutive F1 title double before Max Verstappen halted their charge by taking the drivers’ crown in 2021.

 

Niki’s legacy in hiring both Toto and Lewis to join the team is significant, as he helped to create a Formula 1 dynasty which will be incredibly difficult for anyone to match.

 

As the team enters a transitional period following Lewis Hamilton’s departure and a downturn in form, Wolff needn’t remember the success he and Lauda helped to forge for the great Silver Arrows brand – serving as a reminder of how precious winning is, and that it can be achieved again.

 

 

Gideon Canice

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