Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2023

“Diva-esque” car makes sprint races tougher for Mercedes – Wolff

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says sprint races are a tougher challenge for them as they have found it so difficult to get the W14’s set-up right.

In brief

Sprint races tougher for Mercedes

The fourth sprint race of the season will take place at Losail International Circuit this weekend. Teams will only have a single practice session to dial their cars in before qualifying for the grand prix, which Wolff says exacerbates a key weakness for Mercedes.

“The car is still so sensitive and difficult to set up that we need more sessions to get on top of it,” he said. Its drivers “don’t know what the car is going to do when [they] turn in.

“It’s a matter of gaining confidence over those sessions and the longer we run, the better we get, the more we can fine-tune the tools and that helps. So sprint race weekends are not great for us because the car is just so diva-esque to get on top of.”

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finished fourth and sixth respectively for Mercedes in the last sprint race at Spa-Francorchamps.

Doohan’s F2 season “difficult” – Famin

Alpine’s interim team principal Bruno Famin gave a less than encouraging assessment of Jack Doohan’s second full season in Formula 2. Doohan, who finished sixth last year, lies fourth ahead of the season finale. He has won two races but is no longer in contention for the title.

“It’s true that his second season has been a bit difficult,” said Famin. “He made two very good wins but for all the first part of the season he was not happy at all with his car. The car has improved a lot now.”

Doohan and Martins were due to test for Alpine following the Japanese Grand Prix. “The idea is to see how both of them will keep going, keep improving,” said Famin. “Then we are trying to give them as much experience as possible and we will see what we can do with Jack of course but maybe also with Victor. But they are part of the family.”

Leon takes Euroformula title

Former Red Bull junior driver Noel Leon clinched the Euroformula Open title at Mugello yesterday with three races remaining. He pipped team mate Levente Revesv to third place by less than five-hundredths of a second to put the title beyond the grasp after race winner Cian Shields.

CryptoTower’s Josh Dufek, who joined the series mid-season, took second. Leon is one of only four drivers to have contested every race.

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Comment of the day

There were a lot of really good suggestions for this weekend’s Caption Competition which made picking a winner even harder than usual. Philip, Keith Campbell and NullaPax came up with great suggestions bit the winner is Flying Lap:

Lewis Hamilton and Esteban Ocon inspect a remote control car

“Darn, they kept the zero sidepod design.”
Flying Lap

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Scribe, Stacy and Silfen!

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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19 comments on ““Diva-esque” car makes sprint races tougher for Mercedes – Wolff”

  1. Swapping personnel around at Mercedes isn’t getting the job done. Their design team needs to be sacked as they still continue to move forward with a design that doesn’t work. That car is their “baby” and they refuse to move on.

    1. Yep. Sacking people all the time is clearly the best way to get better results, right? Just ask Ferrari. And Alpine.

    2. Sacking experienced developers who were very succesfull is the worst you could do (Is this something from the States) if you want to be succesfull again.
      This isn’t a case of 1 person failed on purpose it’s a a design idea who theoretish was super but the whole group couldn’t implement good enough. The best what you could do is getting someone outside that group looking to the big picture and try to steer to do different things/designs.

      1. Isn’t the problem that the theory was wrong, not that it wasn’t implemented well enough?

        1. Well they switched to a traditional sidepod and that seems to have made zero effect on moving them forward so I’m not sure that’s huge proof that the theory was wrong. The biggest issues for Mercedes is it’s inability to maintain a stable aero platform and handle bumps. It matters little what aero platform you run on top of a car that cannot maintain the stable platform needed. It might be that if they had been able to solve their suspension and ride issues they could have optimised the zero pod better but they’ve clearly seen that the RBR path seems to have more head room than their concept which they’ve not been able to extract the baseline they expected.

    3. I suppose you’re better at your job (being third or second best in the world)? If not, you should feel morally obliged to quit your job before making this suggestion, don’t you think?

    4. Their problem is the suspension. The zero-pod design was, if anything, too good, and was negatively affecting their suspension.

      The problem is, changing the suspension requires changing the chassis in a significant fashion, re-certifying it for crash testing, and blowing their development budget right out of the park. If Mercedes could throw another $50 million at their development, it would be a radically different car, but that simply isn’t an option under the budget cap.

  2. Yet another diva reference, lol.

    1. yep, maybe they should stop building “Diva-esque” cars

  3. Diva car, diva driver.

    1. Diva car, diva driver.

      You think Lewis is your goddess?

    2. I’m not going to speak for other Verstappen fans, but just for myself: give it a bloody rest, already.
      There was zero reference to Hamilton here, there is zero substance in your post.

    3. Diva Verstappen changes to Mercedes?

    4. You may be an armchair expert – how many armchairs have you sat in? – but you’re no F1 expert, obviously.

      1. I”m always surprised why calling Lewis a diva is insulting.
        He dresses like the diva of F1 and gets credit for that.
        So every Lewis Fan should be proud when someone in favor for another driver reflects on that.

  4. Mercedes could build a car with a bigger setup window. So that the drivers can actually maximize the performance that is in the car.
    Rather than going for a car concept that might theoretically be a rocket ship but with unreachable performance.

    1. In all honesty they had a good car once, which originated from Brawn. I don’t think they ever will have a good car again as back then their approach was throwing endless money at it and analysing data, data, data. Now they lack endless means because of the budget cap and lack racing heart and strategic insight. Even Hamilton can’t compensate for that. Their 2014-2021 streak was a pay-to-win streak in video games terms.

  5. Every car they produce since 2017 is a diva. Incredible. Time to look at themselves for a bit then.
    It can be just coincidence.

  6. Hey @Keith Collantine, I think you meant “Doohan’s **F2** season ‘difficult’ ” – not **F1** in your headline…

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