Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff is currently a huge talking point in the Formula 1 paddock, after the Austrian was accused of being told “inside information” by the FIA.
When the FIA announced a set of rule changes at the recent Canadian Grand Prix following a technical directive, Mercedes were the only team able to make the necessary changes in time.
This sparked rumours that Wolff knew of the incoming rule changes before they were announced, with every other team informing the FIA that they didn’t have enough time in Canada to make the adjustments.
Wolff has also been accused by Christian Horner of “acting out” during a meeting in Canada, where Netflix were present.
The Mercedes boss was supposedly filmed during an angry outburst, one which will be seen on the next series of Drive to Survive.
Despite all the accusations and criticism, Wolff believes he “functions best” when people are against him.
“I’m right in my comfort zone,” he said.
“Everyone has been against me my whole life, but that’s where I function best. And if everyone is against me, that means I must have hit on something.”
The most recent accusations, however, are particularly serious.
It’s been rumoured that FIA’s new secretary general Shaila-Ann Rao tipped-off Wolff about the rule changes.
Rao and Wolff worked together for several years, with Rao being the Austrian’s former lawyer and advisor.
Wolff insists that any suggest of wrongdoing is complete nonsense.
“First, she is a lawyer with total integrity,” the Austrian insisted.
“Secondly, the team bosses influenced their drivers so that they don’t admit in public that this bouncing is a health problem.
“At least one driver in every team has said publicly that he has pain or a headache or poor vision when driving and the bosses all act as though it’s nothing.
“That is irresponsible,” added Wolff.
Wolff is clearly a prominent figure when it comes to the political side of the sport, something which former F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone knows all about.
The 91-year-old is certain that Rao told Wolff about the changes, with the former chief warning Wolff that what he’s doing is incredibly “dangerous”.
“It’s bloody dangerous,” said former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone.
“Toto started all this nonsense about the cars needing to change. She (Rao) told them about the new directive, obviously. She worked with Toto for two or three years.”
With so many people seemingly against Wolff currently, fellow Austrian and Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko, blamed the death of Niki Lauda as the reason as to why it’s happening.
Lauda played a prominent role at Mercedes, with Wolff admitting just how much he misses his “friend”.
“That’s Helmut,” Wolff responded. “He’s always teasing and that’s ok.
“It is true that Niki is missing. I miss him as a friend and a sparring partner and chairman. Believe me, I would rather fight with Niki than fight alone,” Wolff revealed.