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Formula 1 Saudi Arabian GP

Wolff has new “mindset” over Mercedes F1 recovery

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says a new “mindset” is keeping him so calm about his team’s Formula 1 recovery chances.

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team

The German manufacturer has had a challenging start to the 2024 season, with last weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix exposing a particular weakness that its new W15 has in high-speed corners.

While the squad does not have answers right now as to what is causing the unexplained problem, Wolff has declared that he has total faith in the team getting on top of matters.

And, although there is potential for 2024 to mark a third consecutive year of Mercedes trying to get on top of issues, Wolff has said he is so serene about the situation because he thinks the team is in a different place this time around.

“I've changed my mindset,” he said. “I don't think that additional pressure on all of us makes it better.

“I think we have a problem with the physics. It is not by lack of trying or by the mindset or the motivation or energies. All of that is there, and I can see the buzz in the organisation.

“As racers, when we have such [disappointing] results, you're feeling down, but we're trying to change that with the right motivation for the week that comes. That's why we are believing that we can turn this around. We believe that our organisation can dig ourselves out. I'm 100% sure we can.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W15 battles with Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL38

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W15 battles with Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL38

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Wolff says that while on-track performance seems similar to previous seasons, the situation with its car is very different because its understanding of the concept has moved on so much.

“We had so many unknowns in the last year,” he said. “Where we started, we said, ‘okay this could be a reason’ and ‘this could be a reason’ and ‘this could be a reason.’ And we fixed that.

“I can see from the sensors that we have what we needed. But there is still this behaviour of the car in a certain speed range, where our sensors and simulation say this is where we should have the downforce, and we are not having it.

“This team has not been overconfident. We are probably the other way around. We see that glass half empty always. And that attitude stays, but this is also the attitude to fix it.”

Wolff believes that all the lessons that were applied in curing the issues the team faced with its first two cars of the new ground effect era will help it plot a path out of the problems.

“It is a different confidence that I have in the group this time around,” he said. “At a certain stage, you're basically ticking all the boxes of the unknown, and where we are today, it's pretty clear where it points to. It's just my feeling that that we will come on top.

“Is this good enough to beat a Max [Verstappen] in a Red Bull? No, it's not. But at least bringing ourselves into a position of fighting for podiums and being right there, I'm 100% sure we are going to get there.”

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