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Wolff addresses Mercedes succession plan after Vowles Williams "boot camp" concern

Wolff addresses Mercedes succession plan after Vowles Williams "boot camp" concern

Wolff addresses Mercedes succession plan after Vowles Williams "boot camp" concern

Wolff addresses Mercedes succession plan after Vowles Williams "boot camp" concern

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has dismissed the suggestion that James Vowles has been farmed out to Williams for "boot camp".

Williams confirmed former Silver Arrows director of strategy Vowles as its new team principal earlier in January to fill the vacancy left by Jost Capito.

This is the latest link in the strong relationship between the two teams with Mercedes supplying the independent outfit with power units while Williams previously hosted George Russell on a three-year deal.

Wolff himself also joined F1 through the Grove-based outfit, becoming a shareholder in 2009 before leaving for the German manufacturer in 2013.

Pressed if Vowles' move was part of a master plan to find Wolff's Mercedes successor, the Austrian said: “You mean sending him to boot camp for a few years? No."

Only Red Bull team principal Christian Horner and his AlphaTauri counterpart, Franz Tost, have been in position longer than Wolff at Mercedes.

“I think that I have been always very open about how I have felt going forward with my job," added Wolff.

"I have now made a step beyond the actual employment in my role in the team by being a shareholder and that was a long-term decision.

“I keep introspecting on how much I can actually contribute to the organisation and if one day I believe that there are shortcomings in an area, be it on the sporting side, the technical or the commercial side or the politics, I would not hesitate for a second about appointing someone to that area or appointing someone to take over what I do.

“As a co-shareholder, my main interest is that the team prospers, that we are winning on track and that is 90 per cent of what counts to me.

“The 10 per cent is the business development or financial development of the company."

"Never say never"

Despite denying that Vowles is serving an apprenticeship in a team principal position at Williams, Wolff left the door open for a return.

“Never say never because James is great and I hope that he is going to have a long career as a team principal at Williams," said Wolff.

"Hopefully, we will see him more often in the press conferences after successful weekends.

“If things go well there, as I do now, he could have a 10-year stint. That’s why you just need to let the bird fly out and do its own thing and not anticipate that he’s going to come back.”

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