Wolff: Mercedes F1 form right now "totally unacceptable"

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says the performance of his team at the moment is "totally unacceptable", after a disappointing showing in Formula 1’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Wolff: Mercedes F1 form right now "totally unacceptable"

As the team continues to chase answers to its porpoising problems, Lewis Hamilton had one of his worst qualifying sessions for Mercedes in terms of pure pace as he ended up getting dumped out of Q1 in Jeddah.

He ended up 16th fastest, but will start 15th following Mick Schumacher’s withdrawal.

With Red Bull and Ferrari appearing to be a step ahead, and Mercedes still unable to exploit the potential it believes there is within the W13, it was left to George Russell to carry the team’s hopes in Q3 as he ended up sixth.

Reflecting on where Mercedes is, Wolff said he was not unhappy that the team was facing a strong battle this year after years of domination – but was clear that it needed to be closer to the front.

“I love competition and I've always loved competition,” explained Wolff. “We had a really strong run of eight years where we were leading the pack, not always, but we kind of managed our way into the lead.

“This time, for me, feels a little bit like 2013, where we just weren't up to the speed with the Red Bull and probably also not with the Ferraris, but we kept fighting and this is how I feel at the moment.

“We need to fight. It's certainly totally unacceptable where we are on performance. We're third on the road, and sometimes not even like today. So it's just not an option to stay where we are.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13, George Russell, Mercedes W13

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13, George Russell, Mercedes W13

Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

Hamilton’s Q1 disaster was prompted by him heading in a wrong direction with the set-up of the car.

While it was not radically different to what Russell was running, the decision to put more focus on the front end meant that Hamilton had no confidence in the rear as it was too loose.

Wolff added: “We were experimenting with set-ups to find out where the sweet spot of the car is. And so on Lewis' side, they went a bit bolder. The outcome was that basically they had no rear end in the car. And that explains that big lead time deficit.”

Read Also:

While porpoising remains Mercedes’ biggest headache at the moment, the team also knows it is not its only problem – as it faces an overweight car plus not having a low enough drag rear wing available yet.

Wolff added: “You can see between Lewis' and George's performance, there was not a huge set of changes that happened, but they were big enough to have dramatic consequences on the performance of the car between going out in Q1 and making it solidly into Q3. So that's why this car is so tricky to set-up.

“We had a lower drag rear wing, we took the Gurney off, but still it wasn't enough to shave more drag off the car.

“But generally, I would say this isn't the single problem. We have many parts of the car that don't work, that we don't understand, that don't perform enough. And this is not where we all expect the car to be.”

shares
comments

Related video

The hurdles that threatened young Verstappen's irrepressible rise
Previous article

The hurdles that threatened young Verstappen's irrepressible rise

Next article

Steiner: Rush job to fix Schumacher’s F1 car risked Australia hopes

Steiner: Rush job to fix Schumacher’s F1 car risked Australia hopes
The 10 stories to watch out for across the rest of the 2022 F1 season Plus

The 10 stories to watch out for across the rest of the 2022 F1 season

It’s 13 down, nine to go as the Formula 1 teams pause for breath in the summer break. But what can we expect to happen over the next three months from Belgium to Abu Dhabi? Here's the key storylines to keep an eye out for the rest of the 2022 season

The inconvenient truth about F1’s ‘American driver’ dream Plus

The inconvenient truth about F1’s ‘American driver’ dream

OPINION: The Formula 1 grid's wait for a new American driver looks set to continue into 2023 as the few remaining places up for grabs - most notably at McLaren - look set to go elsewhere. This is despite the Woking outfit giving tests to IndyCar aces recently, showing that the Stateside single-seater series still has some way to go to being seen as a viable feeder option for F1

Formula 1
Aug 17, 2022
How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge Plus

How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge

While creating a car that is woefully off the pace is a nightmare scenario for any team, it inadvertently generates the test any engineering department would relish: to turn it into a winner. As Mercedes takes on that challenge in Formula 1 this season, McLaren’s former head of vehicle engineering reveals how the team pulled of the feat in 2009 with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Aug 15, 2022
The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future Plus

The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future

Personable, articulate 
and devoid of the usual
 racing driver airs and graces,
 Nicholas Latifi is the last Formula 1 driver you’d expect to receive death threats, but such was the toxic legacy of his part in last year’s explosive season finale. And now, as ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains, he faces a battle to keep his place on the F1 grid…

Formula 1
Aug 13, 2022
The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes Plus

The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes

Modern grand prix drivers like to think the tyres they work with are unusually difficult and temperamental. But, says  MAURICE HAMILTON, their predecessors faced many of the same challenges – and some even stranger…

Formula 1
Aug 12, 2022
The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1 Plus

The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1

Gordon Murray's Brabham BT46B 'fan car' was Formula 1 engineering at perhaps its most outlandish. Now fan technology has been successfully utilised on the McMurtry Speirling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, could it be adopted by grand prix racing once again?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold Plus

Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold

The seven-time Formula 1 world champion has been lumbered with a duff car before the 2022 Mercedes. Back in 2009, McLaren’s alchemists transformed the disastrous MP4-24 into a winning car with Lewis Hamilton at the wheel. And now it’s happening again at his current team, but can the rate of progress be matched this year?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell Plus

Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell

OPINION: Ferrari's numerous strategy blunders, as well as some of his own mistakes, have cost Charles Leclerc dearly in the 2022 Formula 1 title battle in the first half of the season. Though he is locked into a deal with Ferrari, few could blame Leclerc if he ultimately wanted to look elsewhere - just as Lewis Hamilton did with McLaren 10 years prior

Formula 1
Aug 9, 2022