'That Is Not Bad Car': Wolff Claims After 'Underwhelming' Result Of Mercedes Drivers

Saturday, 23 March 2024 at 17:45
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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff called his team's result "underwhelming" following the qualifying session ahead of the 2024 Australian Grand Prix.
Coming into Australia, George Russell suggested his team had a few ideas on what might have gone wrong during the previous two races of the season.
He and Lewis Hamilton both asserted that the W15 has potential that their team just hasn't been able to utilize fully. They showed some potential during the FP3 session when Mercedes was pretty much at the same pace as Red Bull and Ferrari.
However, this performance somehow disappeared when qualifying started, and it was clear all throughout the session that both Silver Arrows drivers struggled. In the end, Hamilton finished 11th, and Russell in P7. Toto Wolff told Sky Sports F1:

"It is underwhelming because we were within a tenth [of the pace] in FP3. The conditions were a little bit different, but there is no excuse, we have a car that is difficult, and you can be narrowly in or out of the window."

Mercedes had the exact same problem in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia as well. The German team showed incredible pace in some of the FP sessions but couldn't then transfer it to qualifying and the race.

"As much as I am annoyed myself at saying this for a long time, we will just continue working on it and trying to get better."

"It is not because a lack of trying that we are where we are, but it is not good enough. It is the whole interaction of aerodynamics, mechanics and the tyres. It is not a single topic [that is wrong], but we've just got to keep our heads down and push through this."

The main goal for Mercedes was to challenge Red Bull before the regulations change in 2026. Asked whether he is starting to lose hope that W15 could be the car that allows his team to do so, Wolff responded:

"It is an illusion to [get] closer to Red Bull in the short-term, but I still have to believe that there is more in this car - and you see the performance in FP3, that is not a bad car."

"But it is tricky to be out of the performance window, so we're just going to continue to work on it."