Wolff dismisses impact of F1 break

Toto Wolff has rejoined the Formula 1 scene to regain control over his Mercedes crew.

“All good,” he mentioned before the US GP in Austin. “Just a ligament replacement.

“Difficult to walk but it’s ok.”

During his recovery from a knee procedure, the Austrian missed the races he liked the least – the ones in distant Japan and Qatar in the Middle East – and connected with his crew through a digital arrangement from his dwelling.

“I have a pitwall setup at home, so I was completely plugged in,” Wolff explained in Austin. “But obviously when you’re remote, you’ve got to let the guys here fly the aeroplane.

“You don’t look into the faces, you don’t see what’s happening on the emotional front, and it feels, in some manner, isolated.”

However, with Wolff not present, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell seemed to have their fun. In Suzuka, Wolff’s voice was audible over the on-board radio giving a team directive, and in Qatar, Hamilton collided with his teammate in the opening lap.

Some speculated that Wolff’s hiatus might have caused the antics, with deputy boss Jerome d’Ambrosio and media head Bradley Lord overseeing in his stead.

“No, I don’t think so,” the 51-year-old smiled. “We’ve laughed about that too in the team, but I don’t think it had an effect.

“I think we are racing more in the front now. I think we have a sniff, you know, about how it is looking to have no car in front of you. In any case, we’ll never find out. I’m back.”