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Toto Wolff Was Embarrassed by Appearance on ‘Drive to Survive’

“I think that when Toto went back and watched the series, I think he felts a little bit embarrassed about some of it," said Martin. ...

Not many people would recognise the name Paul Martin, but this is the man behind Drive to Survive, Formula 1’s docuseries that has propelled the sport to new heights of popularity. Needless to say, the man has a few insights into the characters and personalities on the grid and he revealed that Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, was embarrassed by some of his appearances in season four.

While were onto the sixth season of Drive to Survive, but at the inaugural SXSW expo in Sydney in October 2023, Paul Martin told the audience all about his show and its impact.

He explained that the first season was pitched to be exclusively about Red Bull Racing, but once Liberty Media bought Formula 1, they opened it up to every team on the grid. Naturally, not all the teams were enthusiastic early on.

“Mercedes and Ferrari weren’t in season one, then Toto [Wolff] came into [season] two,” Martin said. “And then Toto was really at the forefront of the year that Max and Lewis, you know, went head to head and went on to Abu Dhabi.

“I think that when Toto went back and watched the series, I think he felts a little bit embarrassed about some of it because he was so emotional about it. And he felt like he didn’t want to particularly go there again [in season five]. So he, you know, didn’t take a year off, but didn’t quite give us as much as the next year; he was very conscious of what he had done.”

It’s not surprising considering season four saw Wolff get extremely angry and emotional over race control’s decision to allow Max Verstappen to move up beside Hamilton after the safety car restart. To Wolff’s credit, it was a very controversial moment in the sport that saw race director, Michael Masi, lose his job.

Wolff openly challenged the decision and claimed that this event would be motivation for the team next year, signalling the birth of “Darth Toto.”

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