Wolff has “more confidence at the moment” in Mercedes F1 recovery, but “nothing in this sport is for granted”

Photo Credit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team
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Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff believes the team is moving in the “right direction” regarding their development, but more must be done before the team gets back to the top of the grid. While Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari were at the top of the grid in Imola, Wolff believes that they are slowly closing the gap. 

On Sunday, Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell placed 6th and 7th at the Imola Grand Prix. Both drivers thought they had good pace and performance, even if they conceded they are a step behind the top three. They aim to maximise the W15 as the year goes on.

When Wolff thought back on the challenging moments in Imola in 2022, he was honest about the hard realities. Although George Russell finished P4, 42s behind race winner Verstappen, that was due to the Dutchman pitting for a second time to get the fastest lap.

On that day, Lewis Hamilton was lapped by his arch rival from 2021 as he finished a lowly 13th. Mercedes struggled massively with porpoising.

Since the introduction of these ground effect cars in 2022, Mercedes has only won one race. That’s a far cry from 2014-2021, when they won seven Drivers’ Championships and eight consecutive Constructors’ Championships.

“If I look at two years ago, this was horrendous how Imola went for us.

“I’m not particularly proud and happy of the time from back in the day to today. We could have done things differently and better and supported things earlier, optimised in the organisation.”

While the Austrian believes Mercedes is getting closer to the top of the grid, he knows exactly what needs to change regarding the car.

He has often spoken about the need for a stable platform, allowing the team to put up upgrades and work on performance instead of changing philosophy and direction, as happened in 2023 when they could not get the zero sidepod concept to work after a year and a bit of trying.

When asked why achieving this target has been so challenging, Wolff admitted to past mistakes as well as speaking about his frustration over the last couple of years.

“And there have been these false dawns, absolutely. But I think there is a fundamental thing that we haven’t spotted when we should have. That’s why there’s more confidence at the moment.

“But having said that, nothing in this sport is for granted. We are where we are, and it’s just not good enough.”