David Coulthard lambasts Toto Wolff over ‘apology’

Former Formula 1 driver David Coulthard has blasted Toto Wolff, as Mercedes struggle to compete against their rivals.

David Coulthard, who was runner-up in the 2001 Drivers’ Championship, has criticised Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff over his leadership skills, as the team finds itself failing to fix its performance problems.

“To me, it’s a case of success being a lousy teacher,” Coulthard told Channel 4 after their coverage of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

“When you’re winning, everyone’s patting each other on the back and [thinking] ‘we’re brilliant’.”

“[Mercedes had] such a clear dominance for several years. Now they sort of settle into difficulties and [let’s] remind ourselves that the year before [2021] it went right down to the wire that they could have won the World Championship,” he added.

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“Toto’s has always been a very heart-on-sleeve, open approach, but when you’re in a difficult situation like this sometimes you’ve got to hold back a little bit because, if the leader is not so sure, then what does that do all the way down through the company?,” the ex-F1 driver explained.

“After one race? Why do you have to apologise after one race?  Give it half a season before you start doing that,” he said.

Between 2014-2020, Mercedes won both the Drivers’ Championship and the Constructors’ title, reflecting the grip that the Silver Arrows had on the sport.

The introduction of the biggest change in technical regulations in Formula One’s history in 2022 spelled trouble for Mercedes, as they dropped down to third in the Constructors’ Championship.

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Lewis Hamilton went from having been in a neck and neck race for the Drivers’ Championship in 2021 to sixth in the standings, far behind title winner Max Verstappen in 2022.

The drop for the Mercedes team was even more painful for Hamilton, as he was outscored by his new teammate George Russell, who bagged 275 points to the former world champion’s 240. 

2023 has continued to be challenging for Mercedes, as Hamilton has only managed back-to-back fifth place finishes, while Russell has finished in seventh and fourth place in Bahrain and Saudi Arabian respectively.