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Toto Wolff

Wolff makes Mercedes admission after disappointing Suzuka

Both drivers failed to finish inside the top three in Japan, after coming off the back of an encouraging race in Singapore.

Hamilton Russell Japan
To news overview © XPBimages

Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff has admitted the Japanese Grand Prix "highlighted the weaknesses" of its car.

Wolff did not attend the race in Suzuka due to undergoing surgery, instead delegating his responsibilities to Driver Development Director and former F1 racer Jerome d'Ambrosio.

The team failed to secure a podium after challenging for the win at Singapore, with both drivers tangling on track after George Russell elected to stay out on a one-stop strategy.

Lewis Hamilton later admitted that it "made no sense" for the pair to lose time behind each other, after Carlos Sainz overtook Russell in the closing stages.

Russell eventually finished seventh while Hamilton managed to hold off Sainz to secure fifth, however Wolff expected it to be a tough challenge for the drivers.

"We knew our pace in Japan wouldn't match what we had been able to show in Singapore," said Wolff.

"They are very different circuits and the characteristics of Suzuka highlighted the weaknesses of the W14.

"It was therefore important that we limited the damage to Ferrari in the Championship. With six races to go, we are relishing the fight and will be giving it our all to stay ahead, starting this weekend in Qatar."

Mercedes looking forward to 'demanding' Losail circuit

Wolff said the team is looking forward to returning to the Losail circuit in Qatar, after they dominated the weekend with Hamilton in 2021.

The track has been resurfaced as part of the recent safety refurbishments, which Wolff expects to play an important role in their car setup understanding from Friday.

"We return to Lusail for the first time since 2021. The inaugural Grand Prix there was a successful one for us, so we are looking forward to going back. With its sweeping turns, it's a demanding circuit and one the drivers also enjoy," Wolff added.

"Since our last visit, there have been changes both on and off track. A key feature of FP1 therefore will be understanding the effect of the track resurfacing.

"As it is a Sprint weekend, we will have limited time to get on top of this and find a solid set-up for the rest of the event.

"It will be an interesting task and one we are excited for."

F1 2023 Qatar Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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