The Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS executive Toto Wolff is not just a constant face in front of the TV cameras, but also someone with an impressive background. In a world premiere, the Vienna-born executive reveals that he is the son of a Polish woman and a Romanian man.
Toto Wolff has built a wall between his tuned down lifestyle and the tabloids chasing Formula 1 prima donnas. Little do we know about his life, except being married to the motorsport blond beauty, Suzie. Now it has emerged that he is half Polish, half Romanian. “My mother was Polish and fled Poland with her parents in the late 60s, from the Communists, and met my father, who was a Romanian, in Vienna, and they got together.”
The story was revealed by Toto Wolff himself during “Breakfast with…”, hosted by Eric Silbermann, the journalists who hunts motorsport stars and interviews them over breakfast.
So how in the world did half-Romanian, half-Polish Torger Christian Wolff end up with a Scandinavian name? “For whatever bizarre reason, they gave me this Norwegian name, which actually means Thor’s javelin. But actually, Toto is the opposite. It’s the name of a dog from The Wizard of Oz. The name of the most famous Sicilian mafioso – Toto Riina, the most brutal one. And when we’re in Japan for the racing, I regularly get a text message from Bernie saying, “every time I’m on the loo, I think about you.”
Together with Ferrari’s Maurizio Arrivabene, Toto Wolff is pointed out as the funniest guy in Formula 1. No wonder that self-irony is one of his cornerstones.
A college dropout, split between failure and success in motor racing, famous for his crash in Nurburgring more than for winning the 24-hour race of Dubai, Toto Wolff eventually set up his own financial consultancy company when he was just 21. Things took off from that moment.
“Entrepreneur is such a cliché. Everybody wants to be an entrepreneur. I’m struggling to find a better terminology. In German, the best word is ‘Unternehmer’ (a doer). It’s not a manager, but it’s somebody who is in there in risk and reward, with skin in the game.” Putting skin in the game, Toto Wolff, who is now living in both England and Switzerland, has become one of the richest in Formula 1, with a net worth skyrocketing at over $400 million.
Toto Wolff speaks six languages: his native German, English, French, he also fluent in Italian and Spanish and now he admits speaking Polish. His children from a previous marriage, Benedict (14) and Rosa (12) have also learned the language. He didn’t force them into it, they wanted it.