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Toto Wolff: Mercedes feels “A Little Bit Like 2013”

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Mercedes is dealing with more problems than ever since the beginning of the turbo-hybrid era.

After a disappointing qualifying session by Hamilton in Saudi Arabia, in which he did not even make it into Q2, the nerves are on edge at the team from Brackley.

George Russell also seems to be struggling with the W13. He is currently in 4th place in the drivers’ standings but was undoubtedly hoping for more at the start of the 2022 season.

After the qualifying in Jeddah, team boss Toto Wolff admits:

“I love competition and I’ve always loved competition. We had a really strong run of eight years where we were leading the pack, not always, but we kind of managed our way into the lead.”

In 2013, Mercedes did little fighting at the front as Sebastian Vettel dominated the field. However, Rosberg and Hamilton secured a total of three wins and six other podium finishes. They beat Ferrari to second place in the Constructor’s Championship by 6 points.

“This time for me feels a little bit like 2013, where we just weren’t up to the speed with the Red Bull and probably also not with the Ferraris but we kept fighting. This is how I feel at the moment.”

Wolff comes down hard on himself and the team’s performance:

“It’s certainly totally unacceptable where we are in performance. We are third on the road and sometimes not even [that], like today. It’s just not an option to stay where we are.”

What does Mercedes rookie Russell say?

George Russell moved from the underperforming Williams team to Mercedes to win. However, the new designs and regulations of the 2022 cars have been his undoing so far.

Russell explains:

“It’s tricky because we’re putting all of our effort into solving this porpoising issue and it’s not allowing us to focus on other things. As a driver it’s not allowing me to focus on the driving as much.

“The fine-tuning of the balance, the set-up, we can’t really do because all of our emphasis is on solving this issue. So we’ve got work to do.”

The interlude between ground force and downforce doesn’t seem to suit the W13 at the moment.

“It’s exactly the same as we’ve seen since day one.

“We have the porpoising issue. The only way to run is to raise the car very high. And obviously with this ground effect car we lose all of the downforce.

“So we know that if we can get the car on the ground there is a huge chunk of lap time there. But we can’t achieve at the moment.

“It’s all well and good saying that, but we can’t physically achieve that right now. So we need to have a rethink.”

Mercedes announced an update to the car’s rear wing for the first race in Australia since 2019.

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