2016 Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg believes that there is no one better to turn Mercedes’ fortunes around than team principal Toto Wolff.
After the shake-up of the technical regulations, Mercedes have struggled immensely with a poorly performing car that has fallen victim to the “porpoising” caused by the ground effect aerodynamics.
Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell had to lift off the throttle down the straights in Imola to mitigate it, and it has also affected their handling in the corners, making for what has been a miserable weekend.
Both Britons were knocked out of the second phase of qualifying before they both ended Saturday’s sprint outside the top 10, and they are aiming to avoid seeing the chequered flag outside the top 10 for the first time in 183 races.
Rosberg has no doubt that the Silver Arrows have the best man in charge to turn their fortunes around.
“Toto is obviously one of the best team leaders that we’ve ever seen in the sport,” he told Sky Sports.
“He’s very, very strong in keeping people together and motivated. Of course he’ll have outbursts of angriness, as we’ve maybe seen, but I still believe that he’s the right guy to keep such a team going in such a difficult situation.
“[But] I can guarantee you that nobody in Mercedes enjoys being two seconds off the pace and being out in Q2 with not a single chance to be somewhere at the front – definitely, no one likes that. That’s quite a horrible situation to be in for them, who are so used to success.”
The German insists that blame culture must not become a factor as the eight-time constructors’ champions try to fight their way back to the top.
“So it’s a tough one, it’s a tough one to keep the morale high, to keep the motivation for everybody, and also to not start blaming each other – ‘that’s your fault, that’s your fault’ – it can happen very quickly that you spiral downwards,” he explained.
Hamilton has conceded this weekend that Mercedes are likely not going to be in contention for the title this year.