‘We Killed Everybody’ – Toto Wolff Reflects on How Mercedes Bounced Back After Dismal 2015 Singapore GP

Published 04/05/2021, 6:26 AM EDT
NUERBURG, GERMANY – Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff talks in the Team Principals Press Conference during practice ahead of the F1 Eifel Grand Prix at Nuerburgring in Nuerburg, Germany. (Photo by Joe Portlock/Getty Images)


Mercedes F1 have always prided themselves on being the best on the grid and they always try to attain perfection in everything they do. The Brackley-based outfit is very performance-driven. They make it a habit of focusing on eliminating even the most minute of weaknesses in order for them to get even better than they are.

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The sky really is the limit for them. Team boss Toto Wolff attested to this by giving the example of the Singapore Grand Prix of 2015.

In that race, Mercedes failed to get a car onto the podium. That was one of only two races that year where a Silver Arrows driver hadn’t popped the champagne. However, despite Lewis Hamilton‘s DNF, Nico Rosberg still took home 12 points thanks to his P4 finish. But Mercedes weren’t satisfied.

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It was pretty much the only blip in their whole campaign. They ended as the runaway champions, finishing ahead of second-placed Ferrari by 275 points. But Wolff and his team were very critical of that race; they weren’t happy whatsoever.

CIRCUIT DE CATALUNYA, MONTMELO, SPAIN. Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff in pit lane. F1 Grand Prix of Spain. (Photo by Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Reflecting on that race, Wolff said, “We never performed well in Singapore. Always come Singapore, we lacked performance. And this time around, it was such an outlier that I said, ‘we cannot accept the status quo, we need to get on top of this.’ Because I believed it will make us faster on the other circuits.”

And that’s exactly what the team set to work on.

How Mercedes bounced back in the Japanese GP of 2015

Wolff continued, “The group that was involved around the mechanical side of the car, really stuck their heads together. And we went to Japan the following week, and we killed everybody.

Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg (left) shakes hands with Lewis Hamilton as he celebrates winning the Formula One world championship during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi. (Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)

“Next year we were the dominating team in Singapore. The lessons we learned were so valuable for all the years to come.”

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It certainly proved valuable indeed, as the era of Mercedes dominance began. Since that imperfect day in Singapore, the Silver Arrows have stormed to 6 consecutive championship wins.

They may add another one to their impressive list of silverware. But this time they are going to face a tougher challenge, especially if the race in Bahrain was anything to go by.

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Can Mercedes widen the gap to Red Bull in Imola? We shall soon find out.

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Ronan Carvalho

1063 articles

Ronan Carvalho is senior F1 author for Essentiallysports. Ronan is currently pursuing his Journalism degree from St. Xavier's College.

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