The head of the most successful team in Formula One history has received an Honorary Degree from Cranfield University in its annual graduation celebrations.
Toto Wolff, the Team Principal, CEO and co-owner of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team, has led the team to an unprecedented seven consecutive World Championship doubles.
On accepting his degree from Professor Sir Peter Gregson, Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor of Cranfield University, Mr Wolff acknowledged the ongoing collaboration between the Mercedes F1 team and Cranfield University.
He and his wife Susie, who is Team Principal of Rokit Venturi Racing in Formula E and herself a former racing driver, met with Professor Helen Atkinson, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, School of Aerospace, Transport and Manufacturing, and members of the University’s motorsport faculty at a Covid-secure event.
Mr Wolff admitted that it was not something he ever expected to receive, as he had never completed his undergraduate studies at Vienne University.
“I’m very proud to be receiving an Honorary Degree from Cranfield University,” he said.
“It’s a special moment, particularly because of the great work and collaboration between the Mercedes F1 Team and Cranfield University over the years, which I know will continue into the future, too.
“I would like to pass my thanks to Cranfield University for the opportunity. I am now an honorary Doctor of Science, which is not something I ever expected to be, especially after failing to complete my undergraduate studies in Vienna! I feel both privileged and honoured to be recognised by such a prestigious institution.”
Professor Sir Peter Gregson, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Toto Wolff to Cranfield University and be able to present his Honorary Degree in person.
“Cranfield is a global university and our graduation celebrations recognise the excellent achievements of those who have studied at Cranfield and those who are receiving honorary degrees for their outstanding contribution to business and society.”
Born in Vienna, Austria, Toto Wolff studied at the Vienna University of Economics and Business. He had a short racing career, including a 24-hour endurance class victory before transferring his competitive ambitions to the business and investment world.
He founded investment company, Marchfifteen in 1998, followed by Marchsixteen in 2004, where one of his investments was HWA AG, the company responsible for the Mercedes-Benz DTM and Formula 3 engine programmes.
In 2009, Toto entered the world of Formula One by acquiring a stake in the Williams F1 Team, becoming Executive Director of the team in 2012. Shortly thereafter, he was appointed Managing Partner of the Mercedes F1 Team and acquired a 30% stake in the Brackley-based company, alongside co-shareholder Niki Lauda.
At the same time, he assumed the role of Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, with overall responsibility for the company’s works motorsport programmes, which today include Formula 1 and Formula E.
In his time at the helm, the Mercedes F1 team has achieved an unprecedented seven consecutive World Championship doubles to become the most successful team in Formula One history.
Toto said he is proud to lead the Mercedes F1 Team’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, which includes developing targeted education initiatives to encourage and support students from under-represented backgrounds who aspire to reach F1.
Through the Accelerate 25 programme, the team aims for at least 25% of all new starters at the team to come from under-represented groups in each year from 2021 to 2025.