Lewis Hamilton needs no motivating as Wolff and Southgate meet for revealing chat

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FIVE Formula One world titles, 79 wins, 142 podiums and the small matter of £200million in his wallet.

So how will Toto Wolff motivate Lewis Hamilton as his superstar driver goes in search of a record sixth British Grand Prix victory tomorrow?

Lewis Hamilton needs no motivation to win the British GP at Silverstone

The answer is: He  doesn’t have to.

Despite all his success as Britain’s highest-paid and possibly greatest sportsman, 34-year-old Hamilton remains self-motivated.

Wolff, Hamilton’s boss at Mercedes, recently met  England football manager Gareth Southgate to talk about keeping stars focused on success.

He started by asking Southgate: “How do you motivate highly-paid athletes and employees?”

Southgate replied: “I heard Arsene Wenger capture it very well. He said, ‘If I have a player who needs motivating then they are in the wrong place’.”

Wolff nodded  and added: “I totally agree with you and Arsene Wenger.”

As part of a C4F1 feature for the live British GP coverage on Channel 4, the two met at Mercedes’ Brackley HQ to talk management techniques.

Southgate said: “One thing we have to do is provide an environment for them which they believe is world class.

Boss Toto Wolff and England manager Gareth Southgate discuss motivation tactics
Twitter @England

“If they feel there are shortcuts being taken, or the level of training is not right, or the facilities could be better, then that can demotivate people. So maybe it is the reverse.

“When I was a player, there were times I was waiting to go out and the manager was about to speak and I would think, ‘Don’t say anything now because I am ready. Anything you’re going to say could demotivate me at this point’.

“Maybe part of our skill is to make sure we don’t demotivate these guys because they are hungry and driven to win anyway.”

Wolff sees the same in F1. The Merc team principal said: “There is  behaviour from some  colleagues and they annoy the driver. The driver sits in the car, their helmet on and they give the high-fives, shake their hands or give the thumbs-up — they have not comprehended the best ones are motivated.

“They are concentrating. They are ready to go and they are just distracting them.”

Southgate spent time visiting the Mercedes factory and employees stopped to congratulate him on England’s run to last year’s World Cup semi-finals.


Wolff asked him if sportsmen and women are now harder to manage.

Southgate said: “Some of the motivation for most people who go to work is to earn enough money to provide for their family.

“In our sport that disappears at a very young age. That’s a concern, because in most walks of life you have to be the best in your sport to earn a very high salary.

“In our sport, you can earn a very high salary before you have achieved anything. I don’t think that is a very good message — but I don’t think managing people is actually any more difficult than it was.”

Wolff said: “My experience is that the very best are also the ones with a lot of integrity.

“You will have flash in the pans who have a short spell of success.

“But the ones who have the right values —  respect the organisation behind them and understand the opportunity given to them — they are not difficult to manage.”

Hamilton is clearly one of those, a special driver but one who keeps striving to get better.

Wolff explained how he is trying to build a culture at Mercedes where they discuss  mistakes openly.

He said: “I think it is very important to build a structure where politics are not allowed.

“We can be politicians externally, trying to get a psychological advantage over our competition — but internally that is a no-go.”

THE full C4F1 feature, Wolff meets Southgate, can be seen on Channel 4 at 12:25pm today and as part of the live F1 coverage on Channel 4 on Sunday from 1:10pm.

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