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- Updated: January 31, 2018
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has claimed that it would be “oversimplification” to suggest that Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne’s strict approach led to the team’s downfall last season.
The outspoken Marchionne criticised his team at various points during the campaign and even went as far as to call Kimi Raikkonen a “laggard”.
When asked if he felt that this approach added pressure on the team, Wolff said that while there were differences in the way that the two managed their teams, it couldn’t solely be down to this.
“Pressure can make a diamond, but pressure can also make a pipe burst,” Wolff told Motorsport.com.
“Sergio Marchionne is one of the most successful businessmen that I have ever met, and somebody that has one of the sharpest minds I have ever seen operating.
“So far it (Ferrari’s style) works for him and I don’t think you can reduce Ferrari’s 2017 season, or the end of the 2017 season campaign, to pressure that was applied. I think this is oversimplification.”
However, Wolff made it clear that there were times when Mercedes could’ve also played the blame game, but chose to stay clear of it.
“We encourage everybody in the organisation to speak up,” he said.
“We have a motto that is ‘see it, say it, fix it’ which means that you have to create a safe environment for everybody to speak up. You need to be able to improve as a part of the team.
“What we try to do from the very senior leadership is to blame the problem and not the individual.
“It is easy to say ‘well, that is what we do’. As a matter of fact, it is in human nature to try to identify a guilty person, it is easy because it is a pressure release – his fault.
“We’re working really hard on not doing that because the moment you do that people close up like a shell and you won’t see any innovation, you won’t see any risk-taking.
“This is what we want – we are in a risk-taking business, an innovation business.”