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Toto Wolff

Wolff adamant of 'solid' Mercedes progress despite poor results

Toto Wolff is sure Mercedes made a leap forward in the Japanese Grand Prix despite seventh and ninth at Suzuka.

Wolff
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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is adamant that "solid progress" was made with the W15 in the Japanese Grand Prix, despite a poor result.

At Suzuka, Lewis Hamilton qualified seventh and George Russell ninth before the two swapped places in the race as Mercedes continued its slow start to the season, with fifth for Russell in Bahrain its best result thus far.

The package has what Wolff called a "fundamental" problem in high-speed corners as the team cannot correlate what its simulation tools are telling it, but the Team Principal is firm that steps in the right direction were made at Suzuka.

"The headline results didn't necessarily show it, but we made solid progress with our car in Japan," he said.

"We are looking forward to building on that this weekend (at the Chinese Grand Prix, which returns after five years away).

"It will be an interesting weekend on track. With new cars, new tyres, and changes to the track surface since we last raced in China, there will be plenty of unknowns.

"We have the first Sprint weekend of the year too and that brings its own challenges. The changes to the format, including a second parc fermé, will be an improvement to the rhythm of the weekend - and the single hour of practice still puts pressure on us to make correct decisions with imperfect information. We are looking forward to that test, though."

F1 has not raced in Shanghai since 2019, a race won by Hamilton, due to COVID-19 and restrictions imposed by the Chinese government.

They were relaxed in 2023, but too late for the race to return in that season.

"Returning to China is an important moment for the sport. As the world's largest automotive market and second biggest economy, China is crucial to the sport's global footprint," Wolff added.

"The growth of F1 in recent years has been positive and China is a key market in which to continue this progress.

"We are looking forward to racing in Shanghai for the first time in five years and bringing F1 back to the Chinese fans. With a sell-out crowd expected, I am sure it will be a fantastic event."

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