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Toto Wolff: Mercedes current performance totally ‘unacceptable’

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Toto Wolf dissapointed in Mercedes current perfomance. Photo: Planet F1
  • After Lewis Hamilton’s disastrous qualifying result in Jeddah, Toto Wolff  labelled Mercedes’ performance unacceptable. 
  • The F1 seven-time Champion claimed that his W13 was ‘undrivable’ after the qualifying session on Saturday
  • Hamilton’s struggles resulted from a setup change that led to difficulties with the stability of the car’s rear.

Toto Wolff, Mercedes’ team boss, remarked on the team’s difficult day in qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, when their W13 continued to lack raw performance.

Lewis Hamilton endured one of his worst qualifying sessions for Mercedes in terms of pure pace. He was eliminated from Q1 in Jeddah as the team continued to look for answers to its porpoising issues.

Hamilton was eliminated in Q1 of Saudi Arabian Gp. Photo: Daily Star

With Red Bull and Ferrari seemingly a step ahead and Mercedes still unable to fully harness the W13’s potential, it was left to George Russell to carry the team’s hopes in Q3, finishing sixth.

But Lewis Hamilton’s unexpected elimination from Q1 in Jeddah on Saturday, owing to a severe lack of pace, has sounded the alarm within Mercedes.

And George Russell’s P6 result in Q3 was hardly a consolation for the reigning world champions.

Hamilton was pessimistic after the qualifying session, declaring his W13 “undrivable” after being knocked out by Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin in Q1. 

He also doubted his chances of completing a comeback drive to the front, as we’ve seen from the seven-time champion in the past.

After the qualifying session, Mercedes’ CEO stated that they are not afraid of competition.

He compared their current condition to their early years in Formula One when they were still getting their bearings and struggled to keep up with the Red Bulls and Ferraris.

“I love competition, I always love competition,” comments Wolff.

“We had a really good eight-year streak at the front of the pack – not always, but we kind of managed to take the lead.

“But this time, it feels a bit like 2013 where we just weren’t at the height of the Red Bulls and probably also the Ferraris.

“We kept fighting, and that’s how I feel right now. We have to fight.

“It’s certainly totally unacceptable where we are on the performance.

Mercedes Boss Toto Wolf (left), Lewis Hamilton (right). Photo: Getty Images

“We’re third on the track, and sometimes not even like today. It’s just not an option to stay where we are.”

Wolff also confirmed Hamilton’s struggles resulted from a setup change “a bit bolder”, the result of which led to difficulties with the stability of the rear of the car.

“You can see that between the performances of Lewis and George, there’s a lot of time, but there weren’t huge setting changes.

“But they were big enough to have a dramatic effect on the car’s performance, between exiting from Q1 or moving solidly into Q3.”

While porpoising is currently Mercedes’ primary concern, the team is well aware that it is not its only issue, as the team is also dealing with an overweight car and a lack of a low-drag rear wing.

“That’s why this car is difficult to tune, we had a low-drag rear wing, but it’s still not enough to reduce the drag of the car. But that’s not the only problem.”

“We have a lot of parts of the car that don’t work, that we don’t understand, they don’t perform well enough, and that’s not where we all expect the car to be.

 “We were experimenting with setups to find out where the car’s sweet spot is. And so, on Lewis’ side, they went a bit bolder. 

“The outcome was that they had no rear end in the car. And that explains that big lead time deficit.”


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