Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global Global
Opinion
Formula 1 Canadian GP

Canada will put Mercedes' perpetual F1 discourse to the test

The Canadian GP will be an inflection point in Mercedes' 2024 Formula 1 season, says Ben Hunt

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team, in the garage with Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team and Peter Bonnington, Senior Race Engineer, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team

Toto Wolff's post-race analysis is all beginning to sound rather too familiar.

After each race weekend, there is a pattern, a moment of reflection followed by disappointment edged with some frustration, as the latest set of upgrades had failed to close the gap to Red Bull, Ferrari and even its engine customers, McLaren.

While all three of those teams have won in the last three races, Mercedes is winless since George Russell was victorious in the Brazilian GP in 2022 - a run that stretches back 569 days.

Mercedes' failure to win seemed almost an unthinkable prospect when Lewis Hamilton secured the last of his seven victories in Canada back in 2019.

But as F1 heads to Montreal this weekend, there is a foreboding sense that Wolff's rinse-and-repeat assessment – without proper scrutiny - has finally run its course.

In Imola, he spoke confidently about Mercedes learning from its failures in the past; the tendency to zig-zag its way through design concepts had prevented it from enjoying the upward trajectory enjoyed by its rivals.

Now, though, he was convinced Mercedes had struck upon a winning formula in the form of updates readied for the Canadian GP determined to improve its cars' balance in high and low-speed corners.

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team, watches Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W15, exit the Swimming Pool Chicane

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team, watches Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W15, exit the Swimming Pool Chicane

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Instead of searching for a one-for-all fix – or as he called it "a miracle update", Mercedes has opted for a steady focus on incremental progress, which will now come under the microscope this week in Montreal.

Wolff's optimism had initially tallied with that of Hamilton, who had tested the proposed updates in the team's simulator before the race in Imola.

Hamilton highlighted that Russell, who was fifth in the race, had been the one running the new front wing, and while that attracted headlines suggesting some discontent between the two drivers when asked whether the performance in Monte Carlo had been an improvement, Hamilton said: "I think from my team's perspective, yes.

"I definitely think for some reason we're a lot closer this weekend, it's really great to see."

Now, after a number of false dawns, there is a sense that these upgrades for Canada could prove to be a defining moment for Mercedes' season.

If the team gets it to work, then it will alleviate the pressure on Wolff and his much-maligned design team, but if it doesn't – then perhaps Mercedes should throw in the towel and start focusing on getting it right for 2025.

Read Also:

Be part of Motorsport community

Join the conversation
Previous article McLaren faces major low-speed test in F1 Canada GP
Next article How exposed is Red Bull’s F1 campaign to its kerb and bump weakness?

Top Comments

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global Global