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Wolff rules out Aston Martin role

NEWS STORY
06/04/2020

Having got it so badly wrong in terms of Lawrence Stroll buying the Mercedes F1 teams, some sections of the media subsequently began speculating over Toto Wolff heading to Aston Martin following the significant investment by Lawrence Stroll and his consortium.

Wolff, who has overseen Mercedes total domination of the hybrid era in F1 thus far, was linked with the CEO role at the British sports car manufacturer, with some claiming the Austrian would become an investor also.

However, speaking to Austria's Osterreich newspaper, Wolff has dismissed the reports.

"I'm not going to become CEO of Aston Martin, and I'm not going to make a strategic investment there either," he said. "Stroll and his team are a big customer of our racing team," he added. "They purchase engines, gearboxes and suspension parts from Mercedes.

"In addition, Lawrence has been a good friend of mine for many years... regardless of our business relationships."

Even before the coronavirus there was speculation over Wolff's future with Mercedes. The Austrian has been linked with Chase Carey's role at F1, despite the unease of Ferrari, and it is known that he is looking for fresh challenges following his success since taking over the reins at Brackley.

In recent weeks speculation over Wolff's Mercedes future has been increasingly in the spotlight following a couple of occasions when Daimler-Benz, under the leadership of Ola Kallenius since last May, appeared to overrule the Austrian's decisions.

The first was the team's participation in the ill-fated Australian Grand Prix, while the second was the decision not to press ahead with rival teams as they question the FIA's handling of the investigation into Ferrari's 2019 engine.

Asked about his future with the team, Wolff said: "I'm in the eighth year now. I love sports and this team. However, I am somewhat surprised by the turn of events over the winter and by the behaviour of individual people," he added, no doubt a reference to Kallenius.

"Of course, this also has to do with my decision on what to do in 2020 and beyond. But I am and will remain the head of Mercedes Motorsport and F1 boss, and nothing will change in the short term.

"In most stories that could be read about it, people added up 1 and 1 and turned it into 3," he continued. "What is my current status? My participation in Mercedes is solid, my contract runs until the end of 2020, and we are still in good discussions about what we want to do together.

"We are discussing. But all of this has been pushed into the background by Corona. We all have bigger problems to solve now - human problems in our companies."

Lewis Hamilton, whose contract with Mercedes runs out this year, has admitted that his decision on what he does in 2021 will very much depend on Wolff's own decision.

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1. Posted by kenji, 06/04/2020 12:14

"One can only speculate here but it does appear that Kallenius has struck a deal with Elkann and Wolff has been instructed to back off. Wolff would not take kindly to that as i'm sure that he sensed a strategic benefit in hounding Ferrari and subsequently the FIA. So what could he do? Walk? I very much doubt that he would do that given the money involved and also the chance to keep Hamilton on board for the next couple of years. That would give them, Wolff and Hamilton, time to take two more championships and write themselves into the history of F1. This is even more likely now that the major changes have been most likely stalled until even '23!!"

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