Toto Wolff makes ‘pressure’ admission

After eight years of dominance in the constructors’ championship, Mercedes finished in third place in 2022.

Mercedes’ start to the new era of Formula 1 has been a turbulent one, with the team struggling with a lack of pace and a severe porpoising issue in the first half of the 2022 season, which essentially saw them eliminated from the title race before it really began.

The W13 did not live up to the high standards of Mercedes’ past inventions, and will be displayed on show in the reception of the team’s headquarters to remind employees how difficult times can get.

Team principal Toto Wolff has suggested that 2022 was a learning curve for his team, even claiming that there were lessons to be learned for himself following the poor season.

“I think we had out moments. When I look back, there was a certain degree of pressure, maybe too much that I put on the organisation at times, but it made me learn, learn about the strengths and the weaknesses of the organisation,” he explained.

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Wolff has claimed that confusion and frustration reigned over the team over the course of the season, as no-one seemed able to put a finger on exactly was causing the team’s problems.

“It wasn’t that it was the porpoising or whether it was a suspension problem, it was basically every stone you turned around had a problem,” said Wolff.

“We eventually finished the first half of the season with a very strong race and particularly qualifying in Budapest, and then you end up three weeks later in Spa and you’re far off the leaders and the same in Monza.

“So that was at time quite difficult to manage your own expectations, because of Budapest you go onto the Spa weekend saying ‘well, we are able to challenge the front runners?’ And you find yourself in the midfield.

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“But again, this is a lesson.”

Mercedes will feel reassured by the fact that structurally and financially, the team will remain the same next season, after Wolff suggested that a major change in staff or drivers can cause teams to take steps backwards, as has been seen at Red Bull and Ferrari over the past decade.

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell both have title ambitions of their own in 2023, meaning that both driver’s hopes hinge on Mercedes’ ability to provide a more competitive car that the W13 next season, something which the team’s engineers have claimed they are confident of being able to do.