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Mercedes' Wolff sees strict staff contracts as ensuring stability

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Mercedes Toto Wolff believes the strict contractual terms associated with its key personnel provides a foundation for stability for the Silver Arrows outfit.

Renault's Cyril Abiteboul criticised the German manufacturer last year for its 'aggressive' stance on staff contracts which imposes lengthy gardening leave periods to discourage key team members from moving to another team.

"We signed up a senior person from Mercedes last year, 2017, and he is not due to join before 2019 because of the contractual situation," Abiteboul said last October.

"The UK is very favourable to protect employees for the benefit of the employer, but that is giving us a bit of a hard time. We know it, so we simply have to deal with it."

Wolff however says the specific terms are written in and enforced by Mercedes for the purpose of preserving its structure's stability.

"It is simply a matter of keeping the important parts of the organisation together to ensure stability," Wolff told Motorsport.com.

"In this case, it was an employee who has just signed a new contract and whom Renault would have liked to see.

"That wasn't possible in that case because a replacement was missing."

Mercedes was itself confronted with a departure which temporarily upset its foundation, when tech boss Paddy Lowe jumped ship to join Williams at the beginning of last year.

Fortunately for the world championship outfit, former Ferrari tech chief James Allison was available to join the squad. Still, Wolff insists the team's success is intimately linked to continuity.

"It is the breadth of the team that is responsible for success," he said.

"Durability had a great influence on success. The team we've put on has done a good job.

"Paddy has great qualities, but getting James Allison was the best decision we could have made.

"The success of a Formula 1 team is not the success of a single one - not of me and not of Niki [Lauda], nor of Ross [Brawn] or Norbert [Haug] - but rather the sum of the people who work together.

"We must create the framework conditions for them to succeed."

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