After winning in each and every one of the seasons of the hybrid era in Formula 1, the Mercedes team ran into the reality that surprised the entire paddock. The Germans were no longer the dominant force in the Grand Circus, and from the opening round in Bahrain it proved that the Silver Arrows would not be the same as they had been in the previous eight years.
The radical W13 was pointing in the wrong direction, but at the Brackley factory they did not stop working to try to give their pair of drivers, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, a car capable of fighting with Ferrari and Red Bull, who became the leaders of the highest category of motorsport.
With the passing of the races, Mercedes was adding podiums without making much noise, and until the summer break they have harvested the same number as Ferrari, eleven, in addition to being just 30 points away in the general constructors’ classification. For this reason, the director of the German team, Toto Wolff , wanted to take stock of the first part of 2022, and was clear when describing the situation they experienced at the beginning of the new era with the technical regulations of Formula 1.
“The beginning of the season did not go well at all, there are no other words to describe it, because if you win the championship in December and a few months later you are not fighting with the leaders, it is frustrating”, recognized the head of the silver arrows in a video on the team’s YouTube channel.
“Since then, we’ve been on a roller coaster,” he continued. “We’ve been on the podium in almost every race, we were good on Sundays but never in qualifying, and the distance was just too big.
“Now we try to see what it’s all about, and in the second part of the year we hope to increase our speed in qualifying to be able to compete for wins,” the Austrian commented.
When asked about what he expected from the current season, Wolff assured that the races until the summer did not go as he wanted: “Nothing has gone really well if you consider that our expectations were to fight for the world title, but we must see the positive part , and as I said, we have learned from the defeats”.
“Our car was very difficult, we weren’t improving, and I think that everything we’ve been learning in the previous years has helped us, but it’s not just about one season or one weekend, we’re keeping an eye on everything to continue developing the organisation. to two, five and ten years, so that is the most difficult thing that we have noticed this course that could benefit us, “explained the head of Mercedes.
Toto Wolff also made it clear that it was a specific factor that weakened his team at the start of 2022 , and that once resolved, they have been able to close the gap on the leading teams: “Our biggest weakness was that the car bounced with the famous porpoising , and that has influenced all our development, because we couldn’t improve it in aerodynamics and put more load”.
“However, I think that from Barcelona, we understood what was happening and we have not had the porpoising again , but we have lost several months of development, and that is why we have been taking those in front,” he said.
“We must always keep improving and moving forward, even in the years when we have had a dominant car winning eight titles in a row, where we had to develop everything to be better in the future and keep our hunger for competition,” continued the Austrian director. .
“That is what we have done in 2022, and in every year, advancing, but we should not feel that when we have won everything is already done because that is when the setback comes,” said Toto Wolff before commenting on what he wanted.
“That is why we have been humble about our expectations and about our rivals, who have done a great job with good people, but we are clear about our objectives. We want to be the leaders again and fight for victories, and eventually for the world championships,” he said.
In addition, the head of Mercedes recognized that he had enjoyed his job beyond the circuits: “Off the track, work for me has been the best of the year, we have launched several campaigns in favor of diversity of which I am very proud, like the Accelerate 25, where we’ve committed to hiring at least 25% of new members from underrepresented groups.