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Formula 1 Saudi Arabian GP

Wolff: No finger-pointing over Mercedes F1 car or engine struggles

Mercedes Formula 1 chief Toto Wolff says there will be no finger-pointing at one single area of Mercedes’ car or engine amid its early struggles this season.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13, Alex Albon, Williams FW44, Nico Hulkenberg, Aston Martin AMR22

After winning the last eight F1 constructors’ championships, Mercedes has endured a difficult start to the new regulations in 2022, failing to fight for victory at either of the first two races.

Lewis Hamilton finished third in Bahrain after both Red Bull cars retired in the closing stages, but could only muster 10th in Saudi Arabia. The seven-time world champion recovered to score a point after he was eliminated in Q1 for the first time since 2017 on Saturday.

Team-mate George Russell finished fifth behind the Ferrari and Red Bull cars in Saudi Arabia, leaving Mercedes F1 chief Wolff to say the current “painful” form was an “exercise in humility” for Mercedes after so much success.

Mercedes’ primary struggle has been the extreme porpoising its car experiences at high speed, which Russell said was responsible for “99%” of the team’s problems.

But the Mercedes-powered teams have also been struggling for straight-line speed at times compared to those running Ferrari and Red Bull-badged power units. In Bahrain, the three Mercedes customer teams filled out the bottom six positions from the classified finishers, while just one out of eight Mercedes-powered cars reached Q3 in Saudi Arabia.

Wolff felt it was important for Mercedes not to try and apportion blame to any single area of the car or engine, but to focus on how it could recover.

“I think it's important now not to just point the finger at individual areas of the car,” Wolff said when asked about Mercedes’ engine performance by Autosport.

“We operate together as a team, and I think we have deficits overall that are bigger than an engine deficit.

“Now we just all have to grab each other by the scruff of the neck and, with all our strength, pull ourselves out of this mess.

“Now we just all have to grab each other by the scruff of the neck and, with all our strength, pull ourselves out of this mess." Toto Wolff

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

“Are we among the top teams in any of these areas? No, I don't think so. But you have to remember that this engine has helped us win eight championships in a row.

“Now we just all have to grab each other by the scruff of the neck and, with all our strength, pull ourselves out of this mess.”

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Mercedes already sits 40 points adrift of Ferrari at the top of the constructors’ championship after the opening two races, while Hamilton is 29 points off early drivers’ standings leader Charles Leclerc.

Hamilton said after the race in Saudi Arabia that talk of the title felt “a long way off” and that Mercedes was “still far off the guys who are ahead, and we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

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