Toto Wolff Breaks Silence on Mercedes’ Troubles: ‘That Is Why Everyone Is Saying That We Are Sandbagging’

Published 03/22/2021, 8:45 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Pre-Season Testing – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during testing REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed


During the recent preseason testing in Bahrain, Mercedes performed terribly. Several problems meant that they clocked in the least laps of all teams, which led to some people saying that they were sandbagging. Now, team principal Toto Wolff has responded to these claims.

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The Brackley-based team faced multiple gearbox issues and their drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, had a tough time while maneuvering the car. Their challenger seemed imbalanced and Hamilton even spun out on the track.

Given the team’s years-long domination in the sport, many claimed that were intentionally underperforming to mislead their rivals.

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However, Wolff thinks that people are only spreading rumors about their performance is because the team has been so dominant over the years.

SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W11 on track during qualifying for the Formula One Grand Prix of Styria at Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Dan Istitene – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Mercedes boss admits the car was unstable in Bahrain

In an interview with ORF as quoted by RacingNews365, he said, “We’ve had some great performances over the years and that is why everyone is saying that we are sandbagging.”

Formula One F1 – Pre-Season Testing – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 12, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during testing REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Wolff added, “I think that we were the team that was running with the most fuel, but regardless the car was a bit toxic to drive and fairly unstable, especially with the crosswind.

“It seems like we have a small diva, like the car from two years ago, that we haven’t really understood yet.”

Valtteri Bottas talks about Mercedes’s strategy for the 2021 season

The Finnish driver talked about the pre-season testing went and revealed the Silver Arrows game plan for the upcoming season. However, even though he admitted the team had a difficult time, he expects them to bounce back to their normal form.

In an interview with Sky Sport as quoted by PlanetF1, “Well, you know, we are sandbagging, always in testing, so that’s it.I absolutely believe the car and the team, it has the potential [to win the title].

“I don’t think it’s yet there as a package in terms of performance, but I’ve no doubt we will work hard to find it somehow.”

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IMOLA, ITALY: Valtteri Bottas of Finland driving the (77) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W11 during the F1 Grand Prix of Emilia Romagna at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola, Italy. (Photo by Dan Istitene – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

The number 77 finished second in the battle for the driver’s championship, while his teammate took home his seventh world title. However, time is not in the favor of Finn as he is out of a contract at the end of the season. This might be his last chance to take a shot at the title.

What are your expectations from the Mercedes driver in 2021? Let us know in the comments below.

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Arpit Gomes

322 articles

Arpit Gomes is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Currently pursuing his Journalism degree from Xavier’s Institute, he is a big fan of McLaren and their driver Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo. Arpit always looks forward to the paddock moving to Spa and drivers dealing with the exciting Eau Rouge corner as well the straight at Monza.

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