Many Formula 1 fans will be aware of the small band of Austrians who have a significant influence over the workings of Red Bull’s involvement in Formula 1 – namely Dietrich Mateschitz and Dr Helmut Marko – which many have termed the ‘Austrian mafia’.
But it seems that another group of Austrians of exerting its own influence a little further down the pit lane…
And their influence is clearly working at the Williams team, which broke its near-eight-year losing streak on the back of Pastor Maldonado’s stunning win at the Spanish Grand Prix last weekend.
Austrian businessman Christian ‘Toto’ Wolff is now a 15% shareholder in the team, and in the wake of the departure of team CEO Adam Parr, many are tipping that he will become Sir Frank Williams’ natural successor when the 70-year-old eventually opts to move aside from the top job at the team he founded.
Wolff is becoming a more influential figure in the workings of the team, and he was a visible presence in the team’s garages at the Circuit de Catalunya.
But his influence also extends beyond that, with his wife, DTM racer Susie Wolff, recently signed as a test driver for the team.
He also manages the team’s official reserve driver Valtteri Bottas, who finished an impressive fifth-fastest in his Friday practice outing. Bottas is widely tipped to assume a race seat with the team in the near future.
Meanwhile, the team’s decision to hire its former driver Alexander Wurz as a mentor to the team’s drivers is also paying dividends, with the once-wild Maldonado delivering his most disciplined performance en route to victory on Sunday.
It has now emerged that a third Austrian is on the books at Williams, with former Jaguar, Red Bull and HRT F1 driver Christian Klien now providing assistance in the team’s state-of-the-art simulator at its Grove headquarters.
Austrian broadcaster ORF has reported that the 29-year-old works on evaluating set-up decisions in the simulator and gives his feedback to the race team.
We had the pleasure of interviewing Christian Klien a little while back, and if you haven’t checked out our fascinating interview with him yet, you can do so by clicking on the thumbnail below:
|READ OUR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH CHRISTIAN KLIEN HERE!|
Assisted with backing from Red Bull into F1, this young man is now racing sports cars