Mercedes boss Toto Wolff acknowledged that he held talks with Liberty Media over taking on the role of CEO of F1, but ultimately discussions “never went anywhere”.
Formula 1 confirmed on Friday the appointment of former Ferrari team boss and current Lamborghini CEO Stefano Domenicali as Chase Carey’s successor at the helm of the sport from 2021.
But in the past, Wolff was often cited as a potential candidate to take over the reins of Grand Prix racing. The Austrian says that he did indeed discuss the prospect with Liberty Media chief executive Greg Maffei.
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“I think everybody knows that there were some initial discussions with Greg, and it never went anywhere,” Wolff said in Sochi after the announcement of Domenicali’s nomination.
“We get on well, I respect Greg Maffei a lot for what he has achieved, but I love where I am.
“I found out that I love the stopwatch so much, the competition and the racing, that where I am today, co-owner of the team with Mercedes, I have to pinch myself every single day.
“And in the end it wouldn’t have gone anywhere anyway because Ferrari wouldn’t have accepted that.”
Indeed, the all-powerful House of Maranello still holds the right to veto certain major decisions from F1, under certain conditions. And Wolff’s candidacy would have likely proved problematic for Mercedes’ arch-rival Ferrari.
“They have this right and if you have that right, it’s very easy to – I respect it, absolutely, I would’ve probably had the same thoughts.
“At the end maybe [I would’ve made a] different decision, because you’ve got to have the best guy to run the sport – but I think they have the best guy today, Stefano is just the real deal.
“He’s been a sporting director, a team principal, has gone through difficult times and successful times, has been involved in the Audi Formula 1 project for a while and at the end was the guy that led Lamborghini to tremendous performances – financial performances and also honestly the cars are great.
“I think he’s a very very good choice for the role.”
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