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Wolff warns Mercedes not to fall into Red Bull and Ferrari traps

Toto Wolff has highlighted lessons from previous seasons as a warning for Mercedes not to start a downward spiral.

Toto Wolff has warned his Mercedes Formula 1 team not to repeat the history set by rivals Red Bull and Ferrari as they look to recover from a poor 2022 season. Having won all eight Constructors' Championships and seven of the Drivers' titles since the turbo hybrids were introduced in 2014, Mercedes had crushed all before it in F1 with dominant all-round packages. However, the team was badly caught out with the new ground effect regulations in 2022 - suffering initially from porpoising. Once this had been solved, the team then realised that a deeper, more fundamental issue was plaguing the W13 - believed to be related to the design of the floor which they could not rectify mid-season. Coupled with lower top speed capabilities, the season was almost a write-off as the team claimed only one victory - courtesy of George Russell in Brazil - while Lewis Hamilton lost his 'win in every season' record. Mercedes slipped to third in the Constructors', well behind runaway winners Red Bull but just 36 points behind Ferrari after their various calamities ended with Mattia Binotto resigning as team boss. Despite being toppled in 2022, Wolff is adamant that Mercedes must not let itself lose focus of the bigger picture - pointing to F1 history to make his point.

Wolff issues Mercedes warning

F1's two previous spells of domination were enjoyed by Ferrari and latterly Red Bull, before the Mercedes era began. The Italian squad's crushing dominance ended in the late 2000s after key figures such as Michael Schumacher, Ross Brawn and Jean Todt all stepped away, while Red Bull's progress was halted by the arrival of the turbo hybrids. Ferrari has arguably never recovered from losing its top team, with Wolff keen for Mercedes to keep on top of things. "You can see that with Ferrari, they lost the whole top leadership and the key driver," he explained when asked by media, including RacingNews365.com , if he was sure Mercedes wasn't about to experience a similar drop in form. "It is something that you can trace back [to when Schumacher, Brawn and Todt all departed in 2006/07]. "With Red Bull, it was a situation in that the power unit regulations changed, fundamental parameters changed. "But we can be looking at that and thinking that we had better be careful. "This season has gone by in heartbeat, and we can't let it happen where we look back after next season and be the one [asking: what happened?]'

In 2023, Mercedes will enter not as the reigning champions for the first time since 2014, but Wolff is confident that the team has not missed anything and is not fearful of what is to pan out. "I have no such feeling in Formula 1 such as fear," he explained. "It's too big of an emotion and we need to be sharp. "We lost many months of development because we simply had to solve the porpoising problem before being able to actually add performance on the car. "Whatever we added in terms of downforce, we went nowhere, the drivers couldn't feel it and the car become even more unpredictable and the bouncing got worse. "So consider a six month delay in putting performance on the car - and it will be tremendously difficult to catch up against Ferrari and Red Bull. "We've started the 100m sprint 10 metres behind everyone else, so we've just got to run faster. "This organisation has [everything it needs] to run fast."

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