Fingers Pointed at Toto Wolff’s Leadership After Mercedes’ Shocking Loss: “It’s Not Possible to Work…”

Published 01/25/2023, 6:45 AM EST

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Having been the tactician behind Mercedes‘ unprecedented success, their decision to let James Vowles go came as a big surprise. He recently joined Williams as a team principal, which is certainly a progression in his career. However, Mercedes is going through tough times and to see Vowles go is definitely a setback. A former F1 driver has now questioned Toto Wolff‘s decision and admitted he would have never let go of James had he been at the helm of the team.

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Williams signing Vowles as their new team boss came as a big surprise to many. Their proximity to Mercedes is no secret, but letting go of their chief strategist who has been at the forefront all these years came as a shocker. Some saw the move as an attempt to turn the Oxfordshire-based team into a “mini Mercedes”. Toto Wolff disagreed with the assumption and issued a clarification against it.

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Former Renault driver Vitaly Petrov was recently quoted by Speedweek in their article as saying, “Now everything will depend on how Mercedes solves the problems with the car and how they should replace such a man. Honestly, I would never have let him go. Of course, I understand that it is sometimes not possible to keep a man in the same position for a long time. Because there are simply employees who are looking for a fresh job, and that is not a question of money either. From Vowles’ point of view, I can understand the change.” [Translated using Google]

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Stressing on Vowles’s role in the team, he continued, “It’s not possible to work without a chief strategist. I’m sure they’ll have to replace him somehow. I can even imagine that different professionals do this.”

Petrov raced his last in F1 in 2012. However, he never stopped expressing his opinions on various subjects the sport has gone through.

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Ever since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Haas showed Russian driver Nikita Mazepin the exit door. Other sports too banned the entry of Russian athletes, unless they competed under a neutral flag. Vitaly expressed his displeasure over F1’s decision and urged the Russian youth to keep working hard. He also refused to acknowledge any F1 championship valid without Russia’s participation in the tournament.

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In a recent interview with Sport-Express, Petrov said, “Without Russia, I do not consider any title or any champion valid. We need to stop being afraid and let Russia return to world sport. We can all decide for ourselves, but I would not do this. For me, it is not acceptable. I do not understand at all the nonsense of some points of view that they try to impose on people.” [Translated using Google]

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“This isolation will not last forever. I understand that it is complicated, but no one should throw in the towel. I have always wanted to compete in Formula 1 all my life and young people want it now too. They need to be patient, train and believe, so that so when an opportunity to return arrives, we are all prepared,” he continued.

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Mercedes hasn’t yet announced who will replace Vowles as their chief strategist. They are certainly big shoes to fill and will be difficult for anyone to match the legacy James has left behind.

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Written by:

Nischay Rathore

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Nischay Rathore is a Formula 1 Author at EssentiallySports. Being a law graduate, he has worked at the Supreme Court of India as well as the High Court of Delhi. However, due to his adherent love for sports, he has now set out to start his journey into the world of Sports Journalism.
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Edited by:

Varunkumaar Chelladurai

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