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Wolff: Mercedes hasn’t "swallowed a dumb pill" since F1 2021

Mercedes has not “swallowed a dumb pill” since winning its last Formula 1 title, as team boss Toto Wolff says he does not currently feel the need to step aside.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W15, kicks up grass and dirt ahead of Yuki Tsunoda, VCARB 01, after a brief cut

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

The Silver Arrows camp endured a torrid outing in last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix. The W15 suffered handling instability, Lewis Hamilton failed to progress into Q3 before retiring with an engine failure and George Russell crashed heavily two laps from the flag.

While the car showed competitive pace on occasion in Melbourne, it was inconsistent - despite the switch away from the size-zero sidepod concept and moving the cockpit rearwards for 2024 being partially geared at creating a more reliable platform.

Wolff reckons Mercedes has a “physics problem” and there is a correlation issue between the wind tunnel data and on-track performance but says the team has not “swallowed a dumb pill” since winning the last of eight constructors’ crowns in 2021.

“As a co-owner of this business, I need to make sure that my contribution is positive and creative,” said the Austrian. “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, 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.”

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

This was in reply to a question asking whether he was still the right person to lead Mercedes, having joined the team initially as executive director in 2013.

Directly addressing his future, Wolff - who signed a new three-year contract earlier this year to remain at the helm of the Brackley operation - reckoned he was not yet at a point where he was considering relinquishing control.

“I look myself in the mirror every single day about everything I do,” said Wolff, who owns a 33% stake in the team.

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“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'… 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.”

Watch: F1 2024 Australian Grand Prix Review - Ferrari On Top Down Under

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