His appearance in Formula E is not in unconfirmed terms to a very general and dramatic turn-by of Wolf, who was an early skeptic in the series.
He even said in the team’s disclosure that he “does not believe Formula E can succeed.”
Now, though, Wolff has become a complete convert, and he has turned to James to lead a Mercedes project in electric sports.
James avoids comparisons with Wolf, but he also aims to copy his boss.
“It’s great to work with someone like Tutu,” said James. “Over the weekend, we talk on multiple occasions. His focus is on Formula 1 but he is still heavily involved in the Formula E program.
“What I’m trying to do is the same as Toto, which is holistic. I’m really excited about racing and making sure we’re always moving in the right direction. He does it very well.
“He will leave us for that but he gives great advice when it comes to drivers or analyzes what went wrong in the race and what could have been done better.”
Wolf vs. Wolf in Formula E.
James laughs at the idea that he might fall into the midst of Wolf’s battle against Wolf on the right track. “It is definitely a unique location to be in,” he said. “But it’s great to have Suzy on board because she’s someone I can have an honest conversation with.
“We know that if we take the right approach and work cooperatively, we can develop both teams faster together. It will be a dream if all four drivers are fighting for the lead. Then it becomes serious.”
Like Wolf, James’s passion for motorsport brought up in F1, he was first tied at the age of five or six.
For him, the first notable moment was leaking to the ring in Silverstone when Nigel Mansell won the 1991 British Grand Prix and brought back his rival Ayrton Senna to the hole after he finally ran out of fuel.
After studying mechanical engineering at the university, James’s first job came in McLaren where she worked on a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren for three and a half years before moving to Mercedes where he worked for 15 years.
“We are contestants.”
His roles were multiple: part of the team behind the introduction of KERs in 2011 and helping the returning Mercedes win first in the following season with Nico Rosberg. But he was also heavily involved in the development of the movement group that led to first world titles in 2014 and continued dominance.
He said “I am Jack of all trades, master of none.” “I am an engineer by trade but I am really bad. I spent time in finance, marketing and program management. It was a mixed bag.
“So, I was lucky – it was really good to refuse, not only a return to motor sport which is my passion but also an opportunity to start a business.”
And like any motorsport business, the primary goal is to win.
“Internally, there is enough understanding and empathy that expectations remain under control in our new year in a complex chain,” he said. “But externally, we are the three-star team, one of which has been very successful in F1 and DTM before that.
“It takes time, look at Formula 1 for example. But we want to win the competition because we are contestants. The mid-term goal is to enter the competition, but we realize how difficult it is.
“Among all the things I’ve done, it will be very difficult to top it off. We’re at the beginning of this journey and making sure we’re achieving results and creating businesses to make sure they’re ready for the future.”