Formula 1: Toto Wolff to miss Brazil Grand Prix - his first since joining Mercedes

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Toto Wolff
Toto Wolff congratulates driver Lewis Hamilton after the British GP last month

Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff is to miss this week's Brazilian Grand Prix, the first time he has been absent from a race since joining them in 2013.

Wolff said the team had "hunger and desire for more achievements" but that he was staying in Europe "to focus on other open topics".

The most senior executive there will be technical director James Allison.

But Wolff insists Mercedes want to end the Formula 1 season on a high despite already clinching both championships.

"There's no sense of complacency. Everybody is still determined to keep on improving," he said.

Wolff in his role as head of Mercedes Motorsport has a number of other pressing issues to deal with in addition to the running of the F1 team.

These include ongoing negotiations with F1 over the new commercial and governance structures that will be put in place from 2021, following the announcement of new technical rules at the end of last month.

Mercedes are also making their debut as a factory team in the all-electric Formula E series, the new season of which starts in Saudi Arabia the weekend after the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Wolff, who will remain across developments in Sao Paulo this weekend from Europe, said that Mercedes' hunger for success remained undimmed after they celebrated their record-breaking sixth consecutive drivers' and constructors' championship double at their factories in Northamptonshire last week.

"It's an inspiring group of people that fully lives up to the Mercedes aspiration of being the best," he said.

"We have two races to go in the 2019 season and we want to end this season on a high.

"Brazil brings back fond memories from last year when we were not only able to win the race but also secure the constructors' championship at Interlagos.

"It's a very short track which makes qualifying particularly challenging as the margins are very small. We have generally not had the fastest car on Saturdays since the summer break, but we were able to take pole (at the last race) in Austin and will try to fight for a front row start again at Sao Paulo."

Lewis Hamilton, who clinched his sixth world title at the last race in the USA, has also said he is determined to keep up his strong performances in Brazil and the season finale in Abu Dhabi.

Hamilton wants to end the season with two more wins, which would make it the most successful season of his career, and he is especially keen to improve his record in qualifying.

Although he has out-qualified team-mate Valtteri Bottas 12 times in 19 races, Hamilton has only four pole positions to the Finn's five and he is keen to try to address that.

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