“Unacceptable” Mercedes F1 Performance Prompts Wolff to Call for Change Following Disappointing Weekend
According to Toto Wolff, Mercedes’ team principal, their recent poor performance highlights the need for significant design changes for the upcoming season.
On Sunday, Lewis Hamilton came in eighth place at the Brazilian Grand Prix, over a minute behind Max Verstappen who took first place. Meanwhile, George Russell had to retire due to an engine failure while in 11th place. Mercedes was not able to catch up to Red Bull’s dominance and were even slower than McLaren, Aston Martin, Ferrari, and Alpine at the São Paulo race. To make matters worse, Pierre Gasly from the mid-table team effortlessly passed both Hamilton and Russell, causing embarrassment for the former champions.
“It is completely perplexing and not tolerable,” stated Wolff. “We are a well-organized entity and a strong team, but our performance today did not reflect that. Personally, this was my most disappointing weekend in 13 years in Formula One.”
“The development of that car has been about putting plasters on something that was not right and it shows that it is so unpredictable that it can swing either side. Fundamentally, we will have a different car next year and today proves that is the right thing to do.
The entire team is feeling terrible about this. I hope we can focus on the new car when the new season begins.
Hamilton and Mercedes were encouraged by their recent performances in the last two races, as they appeared to be narrowing the distance between themselves and Red Bull. Equipped with a new floor in Austin, Hamilton secured a second-place finish, but unfortunately, he was disqualified due to a failed post-race inspection of his Mercedes. He continued to come in second place in the following race in Mexico, but this time with a legal car, trailing 14 seconds behind Verstappen.
However, Mercedes received a harsh reminder of their capabilities at Interlagos, a location where they had high hopes following Russell’s win for Mercedes last year.
“It’s perplexing,” Wolff stated. “We went from having a fast and well-handling car with satisfied drivers, to a complete disaster. How could this happen? I wouldn’t be shocked if we examine the cars in the coming days and discover that there was a mechanical problem with the way we prepared them.”
Unfortunately for Russell, he had to park his car with only 12 laps left. However, he remains optimistic that Mercedes’ poor performance was only due to the particular track they were on. There are still races to come in Las Vegas in two weeks and the final race in Abu Dhabi on November 26th.
Russell expressed that the weekend was perplexing to comprehend. The team had high hopes for the weekend, but ultimately lacked any speed. There are numerous uncertainties surrounding this outcome. The car used in the last five races, which has previously achieved podium finishes, remains unchanged.
This is undoubtedly a significant occurrence, but we must comprehend our mistakes because currently, we lack clarity.