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Toto Wolff - a brilliant investor and motorsport mastermind

Jim K 02/01/2024
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With a net worth of $1.6 billion, Toto Wolff gets it done.

Image: Mercedes-AMG

Mercedes F1 team boss Wolff may be one of Formula 1's most recognizable off-track figures and its most successful team principal in recent years. But did you know that he's also one of the paddock's richest members and a newly minted billionaire with a net worth estimated to be around $1.6 billion and growing?

Austria's Wolff, 52, entered motorsport as a racing driver, racing in Austrian and German Formula Ford in the 1990s, winning the 1994 24 Hours of Nürburgring, and entering several GT championships in the 2000s. But while motorsport remains the source of his fame and most of his fortune, he forged his early business career outside of it as the founder of investment companies Marchfifteen and Marchsixteen.

Venture capital firm Marchfifteen, co-founded with René Berger in 1998, capitalized on the technology sector boom at the turn of the millennium. Wolff and Berger's business deals included investments in UCP, an Austrian text message software provider sold to Amdocs for $275 million in 2006; structuring the early financing and IPO for video game publisher Jowood; and arranging the first round of financing and the 2000 stock market listing of interactive simulations company Sysis, which was sold to Verisign in 2006. From his Marchfifteen investments, Wolff recouped around $30 million.

With a net worth of $1.6 billion, Toto Wolff gets it done.

Image: Mercedes-AMG

Formula One seemed inevitable, and Wolff's first direct involvement came in 2009 by purchasing a 16.3% stake in the family-run Williams F1 team and joining its board of directors. The nine-time constructors' champions had fallen on hard times on track and had not won a race since 2004.

With a net worth of $1.6 billion, Toto Wolff gets it done.

Image: Mercedes-AMG

Wolff, the only owner outside of co-founders Frank Williams and Patrick Head, aimed to play a role in turning their fortunes around.

Williams' share price dropped to nearly half that value by the end of the year, but a rebound in performance came in 2012 when the team took its first victory in nearly eight years at the Spanish Grand Prix. The win brought the share price back to a peak of around $30 at the end of the year. Williams had promoted Wolff to executive director in July of that year, but he left in January 2013 to become Mercedes F1's new CEO and the head of Mercedes-Benz's motorsport division.

With a net worth of $1.6 billion, Toto Wolff gets it done.

Image: Mercedes-AMG

The popularity of the Drive to Survive Netflix show, a docudrama detailing F1 stories from behind the scenes, and the implementation of a sport-wide cost cap in 2022 has substantially boosted profits for F1's ten teams and top executives such as Wolff. Ever the businessman, the Austrian upped his share in the team to 33% at the end of 2020.

With a net worth of $1.6 billion, Toto Wolff gets it done.

Image: Mercedes-AMG


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