“Not what I feel at the moment that I should do” — Wolff has no plans to step down as Mercedes F1 boss

Toto Wolff
Photo Credit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team
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The Mercedes team is off to a lacklustre start in the 2024 season; their W15 car is plagued by inconsistency from one session to the next and falls short of the expected performance seen in their simulations.

This was glaringly evident at the recent Australian Grand Prix, where Lewis Hamilton retired due to an engine failure after failing to advance into Q3 the day before. While George Russell seems to be more at grips with the car and got their best result of fifth in Bahrain, it appears that the team has dropped in the rankings, with podium finishes coming from Red Bull, Ferrari, and McLaren thus far. They sit a distant P4 in the Constructors’ Championship at present.

Efforts to improve the car, such as moving the cockpit backwards for 2024 and abandoning the zero sidepod concept through last year have yielded only occasional competitiveness in the first three races of the season. It’s clear they are struggling in the ground effect era to date.

Toto Wolff, the team’s principal, acknowledging the team’s struggles, attributes the issues to a physics problem, pointing out a disparity between wind tunnel data and on-track performance.

Despite this, he emphasises the team’s continued dedication and openness to improvement, stating: “As a co-owner of this business, I need to make sure that my contribution is positive and creative

“So, I would be the first one to say, ‘If somebody has a better idea, tell me’. I’m interested to turn this team around as quickly as possible.

“I’ll happily give my input and see what that would be, or who that could be. But we have a physics problem and not a philosophical or organisational problem because we haven’t swallowed a dumb pill since 2021.

“It’s just we don’t understand some of the behaviours of the car that in the past we would have always understood.”

When asked about his future and if he is the right mean to lead Mercedes back to the top, Wolff stressed that his commitment to the team is unwavering as CEO and the fact he holds a stake in the team, likening his role to a perpetual motion on a hamster wheel, adding: “I look myself in the mirror every single day about everything I do.

“If I believed that I should ask the manager question or the trainer question, I think it’s a fair question, but it’s not what I feel at the moment that I should do.

“But if you have any ideas who could turn this around, I’ll happily listen to that.

“The big difference is, it’s not the manager question in terms of ‘this is my job and I will stop the job’, that somebody else is doing the job and I will go to Liverpool or to Chelsea or over to Ferrari. I haven’t got that choice, which is also unfortunate.

“I’m not a contractor or employee that says, ‘I’ve had enough of this’. My hamster wheel keeps spinning and I can’t jump out.”