Mercedes now the underdog in Formula 1 2017 title battle - Wolff

Mercedes is now the underdog in the 2017 Formula 1 world championship campaign, according to its team boss Toto Wolff

Mercedes now the underdog in Formula 1 2017 title battle - Wolff

The reigning world champion team trails rival Ferrari by 17 points in the constructors' championship, having scored three wins in six.

At this point last year, it had won five from six and led Ferrari by 67.

In the drivers' championship, Sebastian Vettel leads Lewis Hamilton by 25 points, with Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda recently saying his team's title ambitions are over unless Vettel retires at least once.

When asked by Autosport if he felt Mercedes was the underdog given the current state of play, Wolff said: "I like the notion of underdog, because the underdog is the one people want to see win.

"As a matter of fact, I think we've been that since the beginning of the season.

"We have been dropping in and out of the tyre window, we never had two drivers or two cars over the course of the weekend within that window.

"We saw an exceptional performance of Valtteri [Bottas] in Sochi, that we weren't able to replicate on Lewis's car.

"We've seen and exceptional performance from Lewis in Barcelona and that inconsistency has been following us through the season.

"On the opposite side, Ferrari put the car on track in Barcelona [testing] and they were quick from the get go, so yes, we are the underdog.

"We need to catch up and this is the reality at the moment."

As well as Mercedes not enjoying the pure performance advantage it has had in recent seasons, its core problem has been getting this year's - particularly the ultra-soft - to work with its car.

Ferrari has been able to take advantage as its SF70H has a broader working range, helping especially on tracks that put less energy into the tyres.

When it was put to him that it was ironic Mercedes was struggling with its tyres as it was one of three teams - alongside Ferrari and Red Bull - to carry out 2017 tyre testing last year, Wolff replied: "I'm not sure if it was a benefit or not.

"In the end, how the chassis interacts with the tyres is a complex subject.

"There are many dozens of factors that interact and make it perform or not.

"This is not about seeking an excuse because others are able to extract the performance of the tyres and we don't.

"We have seen from some our competitors, like Red Bull, they have been far out of the window, one-and-a-half seconds off the pace.

"Then back in the race, you could see they are performing well.

"It's a problem that seems to hit everybody but not Ferrari.

"All credit to them - they have a solid car that is capable to cope with the tyres."

shares
comments
Toro Rosso would be happy to keep Sainz, Kvyat for 2018 F1 season

Previous article

Toro Rosso would be happy to keep Sainz, Kvyat for 2018 F1 season

Next article

Why F1 has made a key U-turn on classic races

Why F1 has made a key U-turn on classic races
Load comments
The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1 Plus

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Plus

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. DAMIEN SMITH brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Plus

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus Plus

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021