Toto Wolff: ‘I thought I was dead’

Toto Wolff is one of the most prominent team bosses in Formula 1, as he played a major role in Mercedes' recent success.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has recalled his terrifying crash at the Nordschleife back in 2009, where he attempted to break the circuit’s record at the time.

In 2009, Wolff attempted to break the track record at the time – seven minutes and five seconds – in a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR; however, it ended with the Austrian lying on the ground behind the barrier.

He openly admits that his crash left him lucky to be alive, with him now labelling his attempt at breaking the record as the “dumbest idea of my life”.

Wolff was certain that he’d end up with paralysis following the crash, after having a “strange tingling sensation” in his legs.

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The Mercedes boss was found lying on the grass on the wrong side of the barrier, with his helmet still on.

“They found me lying on the grass behind the crash barrier with my helmet on and I thought I was dead,” Wolff said in an interview with the BBC.

“The first memory that came back was in the ambulance when I felt a strange tingling sensation in my legs. I thought it would end in paralysis. It was really the dumbest idea of ​​my life.”

Wolff revealed that the late Niki Lauda warned him against trying to break the record, with the three-time World Champion having told Wolff that he could “kill yourself”.

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Lauda knew the dangers of the German venue better than anyone, as he infamously crashed there in the 1976 German Grand Prix.

Lauda’s crash turned his car into a fireball, leaving him with life-threatening injuries and burns.

He miraculously returned to the sport but with a permanently scarred face.

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“Niki had his bad accident where he almost died in the flames,” Wolff added. “He said to me, ‘Don’t be so stupid. Nobody cares about the lap time on the Nordschleife. you could kill yourself. Look at me.'”

The circuit notoriously known as ‘Green Hell’ attracts people from across the world, yet it continues to take countless lives.

It’s by far one of the most dangerous yet extraordinary circuits on the planet.