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Toto Wolff

Wolff issues Mercedes plea amid 'brutally painful' period

Mercedes has fallen back in the Formula 1 pecking order ever since new technical regulations were introduced for the 2022 season.

Toto Wolff
Article
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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has issued a rallying call to his squad amid a “brutally painful” period in Formula 1.

The Brackley-based squad has endured a challenging start to the current F1 campaign as it continues to struggle with the current generation of car.

It walked away from the recent Australian Grand Prix with no points after Lewis Hamilton suffered an early Power Unit failure before George Russell crashed on the penultimate lap while chasing Fernando Alonso for position.

Mercedes has been unable to consistently compete at the front of the F1 field since new technical regulations were introduced in 2022.

However, Wolff has hailed his Mercedes squad for how it has responded to its on-track woes.

“When I look at the positives, I think we took many potential root causes out of the equation,” he told media including RacingNews365.

“We weren't sure about our suspension, we weren't sure about the stiffness of our gearbox carrier we had a vibrating steering rack and all of those things have disappeared.

“But fundamentally, whatever we see in the tunnel doesn't correlate with what's happening on the track.

“It is not a single person that says, 'I would interpret that data this way' and because of dogmatism, we're not making any progress.

“I don't see dogmatism. I see an open environment where people share, where people take themselves by the nose and say, 'Maybe in my area we are making mistakes'.”

Mercedes struggles 'like an on-off switch'

Wolff has been at the helm of Mercedes' F1 team since 2013 and oversaw its operations during its championship-winning run from 2014 to 2021.

Amid its struggles with the current car, Wolff outlined that Mercedes' concerns are deeply rooted in the concept of the competitor.

“It's so tough in my career, in everything I've done before, be it in finance and investment, you know which screws to turn and you know sometimes it takes time,” he said.

“Back in my Williams days, I knew what was missing, but here, I don't think we are missing something.

“It is just a complication of what's happening with the car that we can't see. It's like an on-off switch.”

Wolff conceded that Mercedes has not made as much progress compared to its rivals over the winter break.

“Then you see the progress that McLaren and Ferrari have made, this is the difference between last year and this year,” he said.

“[Australia] was a pretty good weekend for us last year. I saw a clip because I forgot we were leading at the beginning in 1-2.

"So, we've got to really dig deep because it is brutally painful.”

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