Mercedes boss Toto Wolff sends warning to rivals ahead of new Formula 1 season

Mercedes finished a disappointing third in the 2022 Constructors’ Championship but are looking to bounce back this year

Kieran Jackson
Formula 1 Correspondent
Monday 23 January 2023 13:26 GMT
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Toto Wolff insists his Mercedes team should not be written off ahead of the new Formula 1 season.

Having won eight constructors’ titles in a row from 2014-2021, the Silver Arrows struggled last year with an underperforming car, coming home third in the Championship behind Red Bull and Ferrari.

Despite issues early on in the season with bouncing and porpoising, Mercedes did manage to secure a win in the penultimate race of the season and optimism is high that Wolff’s team can challenge for the title once more in 2023.

“Do not write us off,” Wolff told The Times last week. “In this life, you never stop giving it everything.”

On last year’s car, Wolff added: “We got the physics wrong,. It’s no myth. We misinterpreted some of the regulations. We put too much emphasis on seeking performance in a car that was supposed to run on the ground, very low.

“But you can’t run it so low, because it [the floor of the car] was hitting the ground. So we had to lift it up, which changed things again. It sounds like a trivial explanation, but this is the reality.”

While Lewis Hamilton did not win a race - the first time the Brit has gone an F1 season winless - Russell did finish top of the podium in Brazil for his first win in Formula 1.

Toto Wolff insists his Mercedes team should not be written off ahead of the new Formula 1 season
Toto Wolff insists his Mercedes team should not be written off ahead of the new Formula 1 season (EPA)

And even though Mercedes were playing catch-up from the start last season due to their car design, Wolff believes he does not need to overly interfere with the engineers at Brackley for fortunes to turn around this season.

“We’ve been lucky to win eight constructors’ titles in a row, which is unprecedented,” Wolff said. “And that is due to the fact that we empower the staff here. If I started to meddle in technical decisions after such a winning streak that would be odd.

“So at that stage, I am in observer mode. I try to guide from a human perspective. Is there anything we need in additional resources? Having said that, I am responsible as the CEO and co-owner. And we, as a team, got it wrong.”

The 2023 season, which was confirmed as a 23-race campaign after the cancelled Chinese Grand Prix was not replaced, starts in Bahrain on March 5.

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