Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Interlagos, 2023

Wolff says Mercedes’ car doesn’t deserve to win after “inexcusable performance”

Formula 1

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Mercedes don’t deserve to win a race with their W14 chassis, said team principal Toto Wolff, following their poor performance in the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton was the only driver to finish the race, taking eighth place, while team mate George Russell retired with excessively high power unit temperatures. Both drivers struggled with poor tyre degradation, as they did in yesterday’s sprint race.

Wolff described the car’s performance as “inexcusable” after rivals Ferrari closed on them again in the fight for second in the constructors’ championship.

“There’s no words for that,” Wolff told Sky. “That car finished second last week and the week before and whatever we did to it was horrible.

“Lewis survived out there but George… I mean, I can only feel for the two driving such a miserable thing. So it shows how difficult the car is, it’s on a knife’s edge.

“We’ve got to develop that better for next year because you can’t be within seven days you’re finishing on the podium solid with this car, probably one of the two quickest cars and then you’re nowhere and finish eighth.”

The W14 “drove like on three wheels and not on four”, said Wolff. “I think the straight line speed was one issue, but probably not the main factor.

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“The main factor was that we couldn’t go around the corners with the bigger wing with the pace we needed and we were killing the tyres, just eating them up within a few laps.”

Russell was forced to retire from the race due to problems with his power unit. “We were over all matrixes on cooling,” said Wolff. “Not sure where it came from, it was the last race for the PU.

“But it is what it is. Anyway I’m not sure he would have finished in the points or not, so that’s a problem.”

Mercedes scored their only victory of last season in Brazil, but after today’s race have only two more opportunities to win a race this year. Wolff said their W14 chassis “doesn’t deserve a win.”

“I think we need to push for the last two races and recover,” he continued. “I think that’s the most important thing.

“We’ll see what we can do in Las Vegas – totally different track – and Abu Dhabi. But performance today was… I’m lacking words.”

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Keith Collantine
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35 comments on “Wolff says Mercedes’ car doesn’t deserve to win after “inexcusable performance””

  1. Poor performance but not only the car.
    Indecisive teammanagement when a faster driver is blocked by a slower teammate and is burning his tires in a fight that never should have happened.
    As a result Sainz was able to close in and pass.
    And probably Russell overheated his engine also during that period of indecisiveness…
    Very bad!.

    1. Russel didn’t really look faster, only seems like he kept close because of the DRS help.

    2. ? I understood Hamilton was trying to preserve the tyres (as the team was advising GR) and keep Russell within DRS range as per GR’s request.

    3. distorted reality of an alonso fan

      1. Never seen this person speak of Alonso or get what Alonso has to do with any of this.

    4. One driver is managing their tires, and presumably, their engine.

      One driver is being very aggressive.

      Which one finished the race and scored points?

      1. why do you feel the need to spread false information?

        1. His information sounds spot on to me.

          1. Sounds accurate enough to me too. Look at what happened to an equally aggressive Tsunoda. That car should have finished higher up. Instead over aggression led to poor tire management and a disappointing position given the attrition.

    5. The Mercedes had cooling and tyre wear issue. The team new this and the drivers new. Hamilton was driving to preserve both car and tyres as that was the only possible way to score points which was why after the first few laps Hamilton made no attempt to seriously defend his position and only tried not to lose time. Russell didn’t have the speed to Pursue anyone but wanted to finish ahead of his team mate.

      1. 100% correct

  2. The stint on the mediums was diabolical, really difficult to understand why it was that bad.

    1. the difference between back markers and a top tier team is how well they understand their tires/setup and the power they have to put in to the tires. In almost all forms of wheeled racing. The driver/pilot is of course important, but mechanically speaking, the probability/opportunity is much higher for better engineered products.

  3. It’s time they admit they’re lost.
    They found their north and lost it again more than a dozen times these two seasons.

    Time to scrap this concept for good and start anew from the ground up. It can hardly turn out worse.

    1. they already said next year is a completely different car concept

  4. Do not despair, George might still win a race in Vegas or Abu Dhabi. Although a week ago I was thinking the Brazil would be their best shot.

  5. Great motivator, this man…

    1. He’s not wrong, though. The car was horrifically inconsistent all weekend.

  6. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    5th November 2023, 22:34

    I’m loving this Mercedes capitulation.

  7. Mercedes was easily, if not the slowest team on the straight this weekend, only second to Sauber. Horrible straightline, off the corner, poor setup, just bad execution, management didn’t do enough homework to cover all their bases. But I think Toto Wolff gets that the car is indeed on a knife’s edge. And this makes it very difficult for it to experience reliable/consistent performance through out a season. But its understandable given its’ a frankenstein car going two different ways. Next seasons car should be much more reliable if Mercedes do their home work and setup a more consistent system of equations.

    Some times when you have a ‘system’ that is ‘broken’ its almost not worth understanding. But, inside that system, there are cases/parts of which, should be understood, isolated and taken note of. (autopsy). I think the W11 was probably the best car Mercedes really understood, so probably not a bad platform to serve as next year’s car, plus the last couple of year’s learnings, and what can be gleamed from other competitors offerings. Mercedes have to work like slaves to get their car ready for next year’s testing.

    1. anyone seen their ride height? rear was like driving on jacks, you could fit another f1 car underneath… also their rear wing, damn it looked like a parachute! no wonder they re lost… one thing may explain: scared of plank issue, and unnecessarily risen it! car looked never this terrible, couldnt corner well, didnt speed through straights. almost like an anchor dragging behind

      1. No, their car is not that great, in a straight line, even with the floor fitted to the ground. It has nothing to do with the floor, and everything to do with the top side of the chassis. Mercedes are flying around with a MOAB under their wings, while red bull have a couple aim9x’s. The floor in the USGP was too low to the ground, thats why HAM was so much faster than Russell. Mercedes are reacting, but, next year could be quite different.

  8. Excuses don’t win races Toto. Get it together. Lewis should have finished the season in second, close to Max, given your past performances. But even the mighty IBM had a downturn that surprised everyone, but it came back and so can you.

  9. Mercedes were terrible. Wolff admitting as such is far better than some bland attempt at positive spin.

    1. Yeah, I get you have to put a positive spin for the sponsors, but I think the sponsors need to see bottom, before they realize its only up from there. In a sense, Wolff, needs to call the bottom, and push it straight through the roof next year, and have a trajectory going forward for 3-4 years. He needs to run that team like a stock ticker, and take it to the moon, and end the grief cycle. Two years of down ward spin, preceded by 8 years of good times, needs 8 more years to hit the top, and cement Mercedes as the top team. (1)(2)(4)(8), hard investment this coming, the next, on the fourth and 8th year to meet their past performance metric.

      1. *another way to see it, could be +6 years, decline from W11 (4 years) and another +6 years totaling 16 years, instead of 18. Which might require (1)(2)(4) years to re acquire the top, and the 6th year to reaffirm. This would be the ideal reality for the Mercedes team, a power cycle/reality made for the history books. This would place the cycle at or near the end of 2030, which would be crucial, as investment might be hard to find between 2030 and 2031, [best case model/securities].

        1. Not having Brawn, the only guy who could ever give Newey some real competition, to design their new generation has really hurt them. Toto and co. were just the inheritors of the work he did with two of the best development drivers in history.

          1. There’s a whole bundle of truth in that.

        2. @pcxmac They need to change their suspension set up and work to the strengths of their drivers. The zero pod design seemed to be all about straight line speed, harking back to an era when Mercedes dominated through engine power. The new regulations demand aero + suspension (constant ride height) as the main sources of overall speed. Also: listen to the drivers. Mercedes have two of the best.

          1. I listen to Lewis, he knows whats up and says half of what he knows. I think what bit Mercedes in the butt was too many years of dominating, and political cruft. I think what is going to save Mercedes is a realization that their car is more like a fighter jet (upside down), than a derby car which is trying to achieve ‘less drag’. The idea that they have to carry so much drag, is a problem with not understanding how to achieve better levels of normalized downforce, on all four corners of the car. By seeing the car as a wing, and its many parts, as this recursive network of wings, all angled, optimized for particular air pressures (velocities), angles of attack, etc… This is what is important. The W11 was a much better wing than the zero pod design. Mercedes won’t achieve less drag, until they get over the fact that they need less drag, and focus on how to create the best superposition for themselves with respect to normalized downforce, over their wheels. imo.

  10. There always seems to be an air of entitlement in what he says, never mind how he says it.

    1. Agreed. He even makes Horner seem likeable.

    2. There was nothing to manage or nothing to say, it’s a complete sideshow

      anoher of his management talks, about Russell..

  11. So was the management.. its time he acknowledges his failure as a team manager.

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