Toto Wolff has expressed gratitude to Mercedes for 'carrying the ball' after revealing to suffering his own mental health issues.
Mental health has become a topic firmly on the agenda in recent times in all walks of life, leading to drivers such as Lando Norris opening up on the subject and his McLaren team supporting Mind, a charity devoted to that field.
For Wolff, he concedes his personal nadir arose during last year's Covid-hit campaign that crammed 17 grands prix into 24 weekends during which he debated whether he wanted to continue in F1 after devoting so much of his time to the sport.
Speaking at a LinkedIn forum with the Said Business School earlier this month, Wolff was asked how he remained mentally balanced, and how he managed emotional investment in the team backstage while presenting himself publicly.
"I found out that as someone who is more in the spotlight in front of a camera representing fantastic brands such as Mercedes and Petronas, I need to be authentic," replied Wolff.
"But when I see people that have, let's say, more visible roles, you tend to think they are happy and have everything in their lives, good relationships, money and success. The truth is, that is not a universal rule.
"Before I joined F1, I had a real mid-life crisis. I didn't know whether I should stay in finance or whether I should do something else and I found myself at the Monaco Grand Prix, by sheer coincidence.
"For me, everybody who was there working for the teams was living just the perfect life, so fast forward 20 years and I find myself in the same situation."
But conceding to 'still struggling in a way', Wolff added: "At times, we just need to understand we are just having bad days, bad weeks or bad months where we need to spend time with ourselves and try to comprehend what makes us happy and not.
"This reflection helps you understand better how to structure your life."
Wolff provided with protection by Mercedes
Wolff then remarked: "Like many other people, I struggle from mental health issues and I have a great team... this is not a universal 'I am pathologically ill'.
"It is more that I acknowledge that all the best people I have worked with, they have down time and if they have a great group around them, the group will carry the ball.
"For me, that was last year. Covid came and I didn't really know if I wanted to continue in the sport, whether I was a one-trick pony or whether finance was where I wanted to come back.
"For months, I couldn't find an answer to my question and then obviously you are not your best self.
"In order to protect the organisation, in order to create the best possible framework, you need to look after yourself."
Referring to James Allison, Wolff revealed: "This is something my technical director used when I said 'I am just not the best me and I will come back in a few days'.
"He said 'Take all the time because when you come back, you need to sprinkle your magic dust. If you don't feel like you can at the moment then that is okay, we will carry the ball'.
"That is something that I found really reassuring and showed the organisation that we have all been a part of is really strong and that if you need to put yourself out for a moment, someone else is going to carry the ball."
What do you think?
Wow, a rare and brave thing to do for anyone, much less a person who's looked up to so much. It's a difficult thing for anyone to do. Bravo for letting others in with a rare glimpse into his difficulties and to the support he's received by coming forward sharing similar problems to so many others.
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