Nico Rosberg has warned that should Toto Wolff leave the Mercedes Formula 1 team, it could leave to a “bad turn of events” as other senior personnel follow.
Wolff has made no secret of the fact he is considering his position at the team, and although he has yet to confirm his future plans, there is heavy speculation linking him to a move to a rival team, with Aston Martin the most likely option given his relationship with team owner Lawrence Stroll and a recent investment in the British manufacturer.
Rosberg, who drove for Mercedes between 2010 and 2016 before retiring just days after winning the World Championship, believes Wolff is so integral to the team and its success, that him leaving could lead to others following and upsetting the stability the team currently enjoys.
“I do think it matters, because Lewis is very convinced that Toto is an integral part of the success of that team, which is true, because Toto absolutely is,” Rosberg told Sky Sports F1.
“It’s not guaranteed that if Toto goes and there is a new leader that the stability remains and also if Toto goes it could potentially be a spiralling effect, so that many of the team leaders in the leading positions say, ‘OK it’s the end of the an era, Toto’s going, I loved to work with him, let’s also move on to something new.’
“And that could be a really bad turn of events for the team.”
Mercedes’ engine department has already seen its highest profile employee leave in Andy Cowell.
Although unlikely to be linked to Wolff’s departure, it was seen as a major loss for the team, especially if Cowell eventually joins a rival manufacturer, though he too has yet to confirm where his future lies.
“A lot of my friends, and especially my Mum, think I’m as mad as a box of frogs to hand my notice in,” said Cowell recently. “Everybody’s saying, ‘Well, what are you going to do next?’ and I’m not 100% certain yet, but hopefully it will give me a nice big challenge, and hopefully I can help companies and organisations and, ultimately, people.
“It’s time for a change. Mercedes is a company that I’m hugely proud to have worked for. The people here are an incredible group of people and I’ll miss them. [But] 16 years feels like a long period of time doing largely the same thing. I enjoy the ‘clean sheet of paper’ challenge of design. I think my personality likes the thrill of being dropped into something that’s challenging and scary.”