Ever since Mercedes entered the domain of Formula 1 racing and stole Ferrari‘s thunder, the two teams have become major rivals. Seldom do the Scuderia and the Silver Arrows see eye to eye on any matter. However, the Former CEO of Ferrari, Sergio Marchionne was in awe of Mercedes boss Toto Wolff and his work done to take Mercedes to unprecedented levels.
In fact,in the hope of weakening Mercedes, Marchionne wanted Wolff out of the team. He wanted Wolff to manage F1’s owners i.e Liberty Media. Speaking in an interview recently, Wolff said (translated by Google), “Marchionne wanted me out of Mercedes, to manage liberty, to make the team less strong.”
However, the Liberty Media move never transpired and Wolff remained with the Brackley-based outfit. And the rest is history. Nevertheless, Wolff further elaborated on the kind of relationship he shared with the ex Ferrari CEO Marchionne.
He said, “There were difficult moments with Sergio before he died. But the last message I received from him was: ‘We will find each other again.’ I never canceled it (the message)”
Like with Marchionne, Wolff revealed he shared a good bond of friendship with Maurizio Arrivabene as well. Wolff, in fact, said that he picked a few skills from Arrivabene that have helped him in his career.
Wolff said, “The relationship with Arrivabene was special. A certain friendship was born with with Maurizio. I learned a lot from him in terms of marketing and design.”
However, the Mercedes boss also admitted that the relationship dynamic with current Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto is quite different. “With Mattia maybe we have a different approach, characters different,” said Wolff.
It’s unlikely that the relationship between Wolff and Binotto may change anytime soon. Mercedes have only gone on from strength to strength while Ferrari have regressed big time. It may take a long time for the two teams to come to parity which Binotto himself admits.
If and when Ferrari become capable of chasing world championships again, maybe then Wolff and Binotto would grow closer. Or who knows, it may make them bigger rivals. But will Binotto even be in charge to see those happy days?