Mercedes chief Toto Wolff has revealed that he studied Manchester United‘s failures to avoid a decline at the Formula One team.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Wolff claimed he looked at the Premier League club’s mistakes to understand why “great teams” are not able to continue their success.
Manchester United won a record 13 Premier League titles, and three consecutive titles on two separate occasions under legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson, but have not been able to replicate their dominance since his departure in 2013.
Mercedes have won eight consecutive constructors titles since Wolff took over in 2014, but have struggled this season.
“I studied why great teams were not able to repeat great title [runs],” said Wolff, referencing United’s record under Ferguson.
“No sports team in any sport has ever won eight consecutive World Championship titles and there are many reasons for that, and what is at the core is the human.
“The human gets complacent. You are not energised in the same way you were before. You are maybe not as ambitious.
“I often get the question: ‘How hard is that?’
“I had so many periods, so many episodes in my life that I would judge as difficult, that this is not on the same scale.
“I don’t think it’s challenging in a way because I’ve had much harder times in all of my life, not particularly in Formula One, but this is actually within my comfort zone.”
Mercedes sit third in the constructors championship, 137 points behind leaders Red Bull having had a difficult year so far with new regulations and a car that has proven to be inconsistent.
Wolff, 50, said he is learning from the challenges Mercedes has faced this year and believes the team still has what it needs to be successful going forward.
“I would say I’m enjoying getting it wrong at the moment because it’s the basis for long-term future success, I believe,” he explained.
“We are still the same group of people with the same ambition, energy, tools, funding. Maybe we need to tweak here and there because psychology plays an important role, but I believe this team has all it needs to be successful but with no sense of entitlement. I want this to be a blip and not a longer-term phase of not being able to compete at the front.
“In a way we are control freaks. Sometimes I feel like a football coach: there’s a point where there’s nothing more you can do and you have to leave it to the players on the pitch to get the job done. That’s why when you’re there you have those reactions. Sometimes you need to push the pressure release valve.”