Wolff preparing the way for eventual successor at Mercedes

(Reuters) - Mercedes are set to become the first team to win seven Formula One constructors’ titles in a row on Sunday but success is taking a toll.

Formula One F1 - Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy - October 30, 2020 Mercedes' Team Principal Toto Wolff during a press conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS

Team boss Toto Wolff spoke of succession planning at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on Friday, and acknowledged he could hand over the baton in the not too distant future for someone else to run with.

“I’ve spent quite some time thinking about it and also involving the leadership within MGP (Mercedes GP) and we haven’t identified the structure for the future so I can’t tell you if it’s a year, two or three,” he said when asked for a time frame.

Wolff referred to a previous “great handover of responsibilities” on the technical side as an example of how to retain knowhow and leadership while avoiding a bottleneck of talent.

“Looking forward into the next few years it would very much make me proud to see a team principal coming up and taking over from me and doing a better job than I could have done at that time,” said Wolff.

“This is a really interesting project for me and I don’t feel I would let the team down, I’m a shareholder and I will stay with the team.”

The Austrian said he and Mercedes’ parent company Daimler had agreed on him staying in a different function such as CEO or chairman.

“Daimler has very much given me the choice but before me transitioning into a new role, I need to make sure that somebody else is doing the 23 races and I can enjoy myself in front of a Zoom screen,” said Wolff.

Mercedes have won 10 of 12 races this season, and started every one on pole position. They are 209 points clear of second-placed Red Bull with 176 points to be won after Sunday.

Lewis Hamilton is also heading for his seventh drivers’ title, but cannot yet clinch that.

The Briton has yet to agree a contract beyond this year, with Wolff saying he expected talks to start after the titles were decided.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Pritha Sarkar