The second series of Saïd Business School's Leadership 2050 podcast was recently released, with Toto Wolff - Team Principal and CEO of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team - featuring as the guest in the first episode.
Toto, who is an Associate Fellow at Oxford Saïd, spoke to Andrew White, Senior Fellow in Management Practice, for the podcast episode, delving into a wide range of topics, including a reflection on his life and career in business and motorsport.
While discussing his role as team boss of our F1 team, Toto admitted F1 isn't actually about running cars, it's about running people. "Fundamentally a team is people," he said. "My single most important task is to provide a framework so they can function best. I maximise performance by providing an environment where people feel motivated, energised, and passionate."
And motivation is an incredibly important tool for delivering performance on and off the track. F1 is all about the details and the hunt for even the smallest of improvements, because it all makes a difference. And every single member of an F1 team is pushing to find the small improvements in their own areas, working towards the collective goal.
"You have to be the best and thrive to be the best in an area. This is what I constantly do, trying to improve myself, develop every single day, never feel a sense of entitlement and perform better tomorrow than today."
One particularly important area of discussion during the podcast was about mental health, something that Toto is very passionate about.
"I've been in dark places quite a few times and it doesn't last a day or a week, it can go on for months," Toto explained. "But that will make you so much stronger because there was so much introspection, so much analysis about your life. This sensitivity that is being given to you, that felt like a burden, can actually be a superpower."
As you would expect, given the podcast's name, Leadership 2050, a key theme was on the future and the responsibility of leading the change to make our world a better place.
"If we don't stop polluting the world, the next generation will pay," said Toto. "I think we have a huge responsibility and obligation to reduce our emissions. The car industry can lead the way with a technology shift. It is what we need to do."
If you found this teaser interesting, be sure to listen to Toto on the Saïd Business School's Leadership 2050 podcast with Andrew White. You can do so by visiting this page.