Toto Wolff – F1 Entrepreneur

Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motorsport and I have always found the stories behind F1’s men and women a very interesting topic of discussion. How did Steve Matchett end up in F1? How does John Booth find the motivation to put it all on the line to save Manor only to leave? Alan Permane has been through a lot at Renault Sport F1 and after all these years, does he still find the drive?

The stories are interesting and perhaps most salient to the fan is how did these folks get involved? How did Paddy Lowe or Jonathan Wheatley choose motorsport as his career?

In an interesting video sponsored by UBS, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff explains how he landed in F1 and why he chose the sport as the series to pursue. Toto’s character and easy nature are infectious and at first pass it may seem like a standard story but it’s more than that.

Wolff Toto Russian GP

I started this website over 10 years ago and have poured a lot of blood, sweat and tears into it but unlike Toto, I have not found the success I would have hoped for. Toto’s words are a clear reminder of how to discern your passion and skills and how he determined what he felt he would be good at and could excel at.

As an entrepreneur myself, I’ve had several failures and setbacks and I appreciate Toto’s words on where to put your focus and how to determine, up front, your unique skill set and follow it’s logical course.

If you’re pursuing a career in motorsport—or anything else—take Toto’s words onboard. There is wisdom here if you listen closely and he’s a terrific, if not understated, guy so the notion that you have to be a YouTube star, Kanye or Beyonce to succeed isn’t a requirement.

For many of you out there, I would only add my life lessons as something to consider. I have worked incredibly hard on many things from my day job in technology to the nightshift at this website and I once told a mentor that I was not sure why, after working so hard on these endeavors for all these years, I was unable to find a modicum of success. He looked at me and said “it’s not how hard you’re working; you’re working hard on the wrong things”. I’m happy to tell you, I think I still am. ;)

A great piece and a brief glimpse inside Toto’s world.

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I don’t think that you are working on the wrong things. Without this website the staff past and present would have far fewer zeros in their bank accounts.

There aren’t many places on line where you can have a conversation where participants can disagree without it degrading into play ground style name calling.

David in seattle

It depends on how you define success. It’s not just measured in $$$ s, but in whatever brings you joy. I would say that you seem to enjoy your weekly chat with Grace or Paul. How’s that for success?

Paul KieferJr

If you measure this in terms of decent, rational, intelligent conversation, then you’ve already had a lot of success.

Mr. Obvious

Don’t be so hard on yourself. — Everyone knows Mr. E is the only one that makes any money in F1!

Negative Camber

that’s very kind of you folks to say and I appreciate it very much. I am realistic though and I know how much I’ve put in to this and my day job and yet I haven’t been able to find the right timing and it does give one pause as to Toto’s comment about assessing up front what your skills are and where you feel you can be successful. Not sure I’ve found that yet but It’s been fun not finding out and I’ll keep you posted. :)


Awesome interview and look at Toto’s perspective. I, like you Todd, am still trying to figure out the ‘why’s’ in connection with F1. I grew up as a kid with my room plastered with Jackie Stewart posters. The stories, the legacy of the massive depth of F1 drew me like a magnet with zero support of a F1 fan base around me in rural Indiana. To this day, I am haunted by F1. Focusing on broadcast storytelling, video and photography in my day job, I have to believe one day things might come full circle and make sense. What i… Read more »