Formula One

Mercedes not expecting miracles but W14 better suited to Jeddah


Toto Wolff believes Mercedes will perform better next weekend in Saudi Arabia than last time out in Bahrain, thanks to the fast-flowing and less abrasive nature of Jeddah’s track.

At Sakhir, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finished respectively 5th and 7th, the Mercedes pair outpaced not only by an unassailable Red Bull squad but also by Aston Martin and Ferrari.

The downbeat resulst was a painful early indicator of the Brackley squad’s massive underperformance relative to the front-runners, which compelled Wolff to admit to the failure of its Mercedes’ zero sidepod concept.

The team has vowed to attack its troubles head-on and implement updates and changes as early as possible.

In the interim, Wolff is hopeful that Mercedes will perform better relative to its direct rivals at Jeddah, with its W14 suffering less from the balance issues and degradation that undermine dits race in Bahrain.

“The last time that I dreamt about miracles was a long time ago,” commented a cautious Wolff.

“That track [at Sakhir] is very rear-limited, it has a very abrasive asphalt, and that is probably the weakest point in our car.

“If you look at it from that perspective, maybe it gets better [in Saudi]. I certainly think when it comes down to front-limited track, we will [have] much better pace.”

In its quest to join the battle at the head of the field, Wolff made clear – especially to his his drivers – that the team’s plight would not be solved overnight.

“Everyone is aware this is not a matter of finding three tenths and polishing the car up,” he said.

“This is a matter of serious performance that we need to find in order to put us back in the situation to fight for race wins and championships.”

The Austrian admitted that the team’s depressed performance level – by Mercedes standards – is a new reality for his outfit. But Wolff states that dealing with the team’s perspectives is an “interesting” challenge that he will embrace.

“We set ourselves very high targets and we achieved those high targets,” he said.

“So I think it is [about] where we set those targets, all of us collectively, and how we need to maybe change the perspective.

“Which is an interesting exercise also, it’s something that I’m looking forward to. I’d rather win every single race and continue to world championship after championship.

“But this is now the real challenge and for me, an interesting one, as painful as it is.”

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Mercedes not expecting miracles but W14 better suited to Jeddah

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