‘It’s bad’: Toto Wolff fires Mercedes warning at rivals

2022 has been Mercedes' worst season since the start of the hybrid era in 2014.

To much delight, Mercedes can finally turn the page on 2022 and look towards returning to the top in 2023, after a season they could never have predicted.

Mercedes have been a shadow of their former dominant selves, with the side having been on paper the third best for the majority of the season.

One pole position and one victory tells the story of how little success the Germans have enjoyed, compared to the superiority they’ve enjoyed since the start of the hybrid era.

The side’s early year porpoising issue arguably put the Silver Arrows on the backfoot, with the team having been forced to focus on fixing the bouncing phenomena rather than on improving the performance of the W13.

READ: Sebastian Vettel unhappy with 2022 changes

In fairness to Mercedes, they did improve considerably once they eradicated their porpoising issue and enjoyed some great battles with Ferrari.

Red Bull, though, have been out of reach for Mercedes at 21 of the 22 races this season, with the Brazilian Grand Prix being the sole exception.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admitted after the season finale in Abu Dhabi that the W13 will be left “in reception” at the team’s bases, as a reminder of “how difficult” Formula 1 can be.

“First of all, we’re gonna put these cars in reception at Braxley and in Brixworth to remind us every single day how difficult it can be,” Wolff told Sky Sports F1.

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“But thank you everyone, this is a character-building season.

“Not a blip for a race but a full season. You keep pushing so hard, the engine came along really well and I’m proud of what we achieved there.

“On the chassis side there were more bad moments than good ones but the good ones were spectacular like a week ago.

“It made us feel how good it can be and now we’re just pushing forward for next year. It’s raw, it’s bad and it’s okay to feel like this but next year we are back.”

The season ended woefully for Mercedes, with George Russell finishing fifth and Lewis Hamilton retiring from the race late on.

Hamilton’s retirement was incredibly, the Germans first technical retirement of the season, with the Brit having suffered from a suspected hydraulic issue.

It rounded off Hamilton’s worst season in F1, where he failed to claim a single victory.

Wolff addressed the disastrous season finale and ultimately where the race at the Yas Marina Circuit went wrong for the Silver Arrows.

“That was really not good,” he added, in reference to the last race of the year.

READ: Lewis Hamilton vows to ‘adapt’ to Max Verstappen

“All the mistakes you can make. A car that was not at the pace it should have been. Third-quickest today. One breaking down and one running out of tyres. A precise summary of the season.

“We cooked the tyres in the first few laps, we attacked strong, the team seemed to be really good but the front-right just gave up. Maybe that’s something we should have predicted.

“We knew that Abu Dhabi was going to be a difficult one for the car, certainly if the correlation is good. Certainly, Brazil was spectacular, dominating from the beginning to the end with a 1-2. At least we ticked the box with the race win.”