Toto Wolff has revealed that Mercedes had just 24 hours to make a call on changing its Formula 1 livery for the 2020 season due to time constraints in readying the new scheme.
Mercedes ran a silver scheme since it returned to Formula 1 at the start of 2010, as per its corporate identity, and was set to use an evolution of that livery for the 2020 campaign.
Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas ran with the customary silver livery – along with turquoise for title sponsor Petronas and a shade of burgundy for new partner INEOS – during testing in February.
But ahead of the start of the delayed 2020 campaign Mercedes revealed a revised black livery for its W11 as part of its push to end racism and promote greater diversity and inclusivity.
“Lewis and I had a telephone conversation three weeks prior to the start of the season about the whole Black Lives Matter and End Racism movement and what we could do more than just an Instagram post,” said Wolff.
“And everybody in the team feels that you need to act rather than just talk and then in the conversation the idea of the black livery was born.
“I had to say to him that I was not sure if we could make it logistically because we needed to paint the whole car, and I needed to convince all the partners and [Mercedes parent company] Daimler to back us on that.
“Obviously you have contractual obligations and we had worked on the silver livery for many months and changing it overnight would have always been difficult, especially as we had 24 hours to react because the paint shop wouldn’t have made it for Spielberg.
“All our partners were great and [Daimler Chairman] Ola [Källenius] gave me a response within 12 hours, having checked back with marketing, so the whole team and all our partners just backed us.”