Mercedes cannot depend on season's "bright spots", insists Wolff


As its roller-coaster season continues, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admits that his team cannot continue relying on positive signs at certain events.

One minute it's the worst ever, next minute it's among the best, but that is no way to effectively manage a world championship campaign, not when you're up against McLaren and Ferrari, not to mention Red Bull.

While Mercedes has had some strong performances this season, Wolff admits that the team must raise its game rather than kidding itself that those (rare) positive weekends denote that it has turned the corner.

"Not satisfied at all," he told Servus TV when asked his reaction to Sunday's race. "Maybe a small highlight with second place in the Sprint race, but the performance is not there.

"We can keep telling ourselves that there were bright spots at the weekend," he added, "but we have to take a step.

"We'll bring a bit of something to Miami, where hopefully we can expect something, but today you're just behind the Ferraris and behind Norris... it's just not good enough."

While the W15 showed improved pace at Suzuka, the feeling is that the changes made to the car subsequently compromised its performance at Shanghai.

"I think we absolutely achieved that," he said, "in the high speed we were super competitive, also in Suzuka through the Esses, it was day and night compared to what we had before. The drivers were speaking about it as the best car they had in the last two-and-a-half years. But then we really didn't perform in the low speeds.

"So you gain half-a-second in the high speed, but you lose half a second in the low speed, the equation is back to zero, so that is something we need to improve," he admitted.

"We are beyond the point of understanding, we just need to improve now. That is what it needs to hop to, and we have all the facts on the table. We know what we tweaked in order to solve the high-speed, and we know where the car was before to be quick in the low-speed. Now we just need to bolt the car together that does both of them."

Despite the fluctuations in performance, Wolff believes that basically the W15 is a good car, unlike its predecessors. Indeed, he believes the first half of the (2023) season performance from McLaren, and even Ferrari, tended to flatter the W14.

"The advantage we had was McLaren was not racing us for the first half of the season, so they weren't a competitor. Ferrari wasn't as quick and dropped the ball on several occasions and that's why we were a podium contender and closest to Red Bull. Now those teams have picked up their performance levels.

"This is a relative game and suddenly, what was good enough for third last year is now only good enough for sixth. That's why it's tough. The car is as difficult as it has been in the past, tricky for the drivers.

George, when we discussed it, said it was the trickiest qualifying car he has had so far. So overall, in a way, the same symptoms.

"It is a difficult car, a difficult car to set-up and a difficult car to drive, and that's why you have these oscillations in performances, in my opinion. I think where Lewis' car 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."

Article from Pitpass (

Published: 24/04/2024
Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2024. All rights reserved.