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Toto Wolff

Wolff hoping ‘new bits’ injection will ease ailing Mercedes symptoms

Mercedes are currently unable to compete for the podium places and have endured a terrible start to 2024.

Wolff China
To news overview © XPBimages

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has revealed that the Brackley-based outfit is performing no worse than it has done in recent seasons and its lack of pace this year is due to rival teams making strides forward.

Mercedes endured another frustrating race last weekend during the Chinese Grand Prix, where George Russell finished sixth whilst Lewis Hamilton salvaged ninth after starting in P18.

Hamilton managed to score second during Saturday's sprint race, marking Mercedes' first top-three finish of the season - something it experienced regularly with the W13 and W14 cars, despite their issues.

Wolff has put this down to McLaren's dramatic turnaround, which has seen them go from being comfortably beatable to at times Red Bull's closest competitor.

"I think the cars were difficult all along these last two years," Wolff told media including RacingNews365. "The advantage that we had is that McLaren was not racing us for most of let's say first half of the last season.

"So they weren't that competitive, Ferrari wasn't as quick and dropped the ball on several occasions. That's why we were regular podium contenders, and closest to Red Bull.

"Now that this team [McLaren] has picked up the performance levels, this is a relative game. And suddenly what was good enough for third last year is just good enough for sixth. And that's why it's tough for the car, it's as difficult as it has been in the past.

"Tricky for the drivers, George yesterday when we discussed it, it was the most tricky qualifying car that he's had so far. So overall, in a way, same symptoms, same."

Difficult in all areas

Mercedes are planning to introduce upgrades next weekend at the Miami Grand Prix which Wolff is hopeful will improve the team's performances.

As things stand though, he concedes that the W15 is a challenging car to manage in all areas.

"I think the car is a difficult car, a difficult car to setup and a difficult car to drive," conceded Wolff. "And that's why you have these oscillations in performances, in my opinion.

"And I think where Lewis' car was today was certainly far away from the optimal, it's just driving on the knife's edge.

"So what is it? This is this is where we are. Let's say for Miami, we are bringing some new bits which is interesting to see how they're going to perform on the car."

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