Toto Wolff, the head of Mercedes’ Formula One team, has confirmed conversations with Sir Jim Ratcliffe regarding the latter’s ambition to acquire a significant portion of Manchester United. Ratcliffe is poised to secure a 25 percent ownership of the famed football club, which is expected to grant the 71-year-old tycoon a notable influence over the club’s sporting decisions.
Ratcliffe, the man behind Ineos, together with Wolff and Ola Kallenius, holds a third of the ownership of the Mercedes F1 team. Under Wolff’s leadership, the team has enjoyed considerable success, contributing to six of the seven world titles won by driver Lewis Hamilton.
In a discussion with the PA news agency before the Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo, Wolff, who enjoys a strong business and personal relationship with Ratcliffe, remarked: “Jim has shared the trajectory with me. I very much respect his values and we trust each other. If we felt it would make sense to be part of the investment group then I would certainly look at it.”
Wolff, an Austrian national, began his own F1 journey by acquiring a stake in Williams in 2009 and then moved to Mercedes, where he has been pivotal in their string of eight straight constructors’ championships from 2014 to 2021.
Expressing his interest in the competitive nature of the Premier League, Wolff touched on Ratcliffe’s emotional connection to Manchester United, citing it as a ‘love story’ due to Ratcliffe’s Manchester birthplace. Wolff shared the strong bond he has with his business partners, humorously referred to as the ‘Three Amigos’, due to their candid approach to business. He mentioned his willingness to join Ratcliffe in the Manchester United venture if he felt he could make a meaningful contribution.
Wolff also hinted at a potential future collaboration with Hamilton beyond the racetrack. Hamilton, who recently renewed his contract with Mercedes through to the end of the 2025 season in a deal valued at £100million, is considered a close personal friend of Wolff’s.
Wolff is keen on continuing their relationship after Hamilton’s racing days are over, stating: “I would consider Lewis to be in my very close circle of friends and we are talking about career planning a lot. I would like to be part of his future. Driving is the main priority, but whenever we call it a day, it will not be the end of our personal and business relationship. We can look at expanding our activities on investments in the sports field and doing that together. I have been doing this for 25 years and that is what I know. He is really smart from a business perspective so there is more to come.”