“We Deteriorated It”: Toto Wolff Bemoans Falling Back Amidst Mercedes F1 ‘Experiment’ in Miami

Published 05/08/2022, 5:21 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 10, 2021 Mercedes Executive Director Toto Wolff in the team principals press conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

Mercedes is treating the weekend in Miami as an experiment. A necessary evil for the team as they have struggled so far, especially in the last race in Imola. But the experiments did not go according to plan. After an incredible FP2, Mercedes took a step back again in FP3 and the qualifying. But this was not all in vain. The team has a better understanding of the car.

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And with all the data from the Miami weekend, with the race yet to come, Mercedes will be ready for Barcelona. Toto agreed to the mistakes made by the team because the W13 performed brilliantly at FP2 with Russell going the fastest and Lewis at fourth. But the changes made then on were all in the negative direction for the Silver Arrows.

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“Yes, we have a better idea. The relapse from yesterday to today helped. It is never one thing that is responsible whether a car performs or not. We had a good car in FP2 yesterday and we deteriorated it, and we understand,” said Toto. The Mercedes boss even claims the car is not any better compared to the previous weekends.

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Mercedes was hoping for a one-strike wonder with their experiment to resolve the persistent porpoising issue. But that is hardly the case with F1 cars. The complex machine needs a lot of attention to detail. But now, they at least have the data to make improvements.

What went wrong for Mercedes?

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The trackside engineering director, Andrew Shovlin explains, “Before qualifying we made some changes to improve balance and bounce, but the problem persisted and as soon as the rear started to slide, we overheated. We now have to make the most of our starting positions, sixth and twelfth.”

Formula One F1 – Miami Grand Prix – Miami International Autodrome, Miami, Florida, U.S. – May 7, 2022 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during qualifying REUTERS/Brian Snyder

The changes and the red flags snatched valuable time for Mercedes to understand the changes. More running time under changes to the car was necessary for the Brackley team to get the valuable data. Something that they will need to make improvements before the Spanish Grand Prix.

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But now the race will prove as a learning curve for Mercedes. Whether the Mercedes duo can finish the race to help the team further is to be seen.

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Mahim Suhalka

289 articles

Mahim Suhalka is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. This Sports Management post-graduate is an ardent supporter of the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team and their lead driver, Lewis Hamilton. The fact that Lewis dominated one of the most expensive sports in the world for all these years, despite his humble beginnings, has been a huge inspiration for Mahim and has made him a tenured fan of the competitive sport itself.

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