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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff will be teaching students about the trials and tribulations of team leadership, including the ways to deal with ‘tensions between drivers’, as part of a Harvard Business School course in 2024 after being named an Executive Fellow of the prestigious institution. The 51-year-old, who owns a 33 per cent stake in the Mercedes team and reportedly became a billionaire earlier this year, has firmly established himself as one of the most recognisable faces in the F1 paddock since joining the Silver Arrows in 2013.
Wolff is one of the most successful team principals in the history of the sport, having led Mercedes to eight successive Constructors’ Championship titles between 2014 and 2021, while he has also overseen six of Lewis Hamilton’s seven Drivers’ Championship triumphs over the course of his career. He will soon be using his experience to shape the leaders of tomorrow at Harvard, where he will be a guest lecturer alongside Professor Anita Elberse from the start of next year.
A picture that was posted to Mercedes’ official Twitter account on Tuesday shows Wolff standing in front of a blackboard with diagrams and notes scribbled across it as he speaks to a group of students in a Harvard lecture hall. Interestingly, one of the strands written on the board reads ‘tension between drivers’, which suggests that he will be revealing his secrets on how he has been keeping Lewis Hamilton and George Russell happy behind closed doors.
Wolff’s course, Mercedes F1: Leading a High-Performance Team, is described as a ‘groundbreaking’ module for first and second-year students and will be delivered jointly by Wolff and Elberse from January 2024. The Mercedes boss also spoke of his pride at being named an Executive Fellow at Harvard and insisted that he was excited to pass his wisdom and expertise on to the next generation of leaders.
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“I feel very honoured and privileged to continue working with the incredibly bright young minds at Harvard,” he told the Mercedes website. “Whenever I step on campus, I am inspired by the students’ curiosity and ambition, and I leave energised by the special learning environment they create together with the brilliant faculty.”
Elberse, meanwhile, added: “We very much look forward to welcoming Toto back to campus. I have seen first-hand how much our students benefit from learning about Toto’s leadership journey and from his deep knowledge of what it takes to run a highly successful sports team.
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“With Toto on board, I am confident that we can make a profound positive difference in the development of the leaders of tomorrow.”
Elberse was granted behind-the-scenes access to the Mercedes team during the 2021 season in order to observe the ways in which they prepared for, competed in and analysed their performance at Grand Prix weekends. It resulted in a case study, entitled Toto Wolff and the Mercedes Formula One Team, which the Silver Arrows boss has since helped teach to MBA students on campus.
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