Wolff: Mercedes’ position is ‘not acceptable’

Mercedes took 14 points away from the Monaco Grand Prix last weekend.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff laments the fact that the team are in a limbo between the front and the midfield currently.

The Silver Arrows looked at risk of being swallowed up by the midfield fight in the opening few rounds of the season owing to their “porpoising” and pace problems, but they have looked a lot more consistent in the last two rounds in Spain and Monaco.

George Russell ended on the podium in Barcelona before finishing fifth last weekend, while Sir Lewis Hamilton needed to recover from contact with Kevin Magnussen on the opening lap of the Spanish Grand Prix to finish fifth.

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He was then held up by Fernando Alonso after being out-qualified by the Spaniard on Saturday, and the passing problems that are symptomatic of the Principality saw him finish behind the Alpine in eighth in Monaco.

Despite the notable improvements recently, they are still a long way off Ferrari and Red Bull, who occupied the front four spots in Monaco for the third time this season as Sergio Perez won the race, so there is not an awful lot to shout about for the team that has won all of the last eight Constructors’ Championships.

“I think we are the third team, we’re not second and we’re not fourth,” explained Wolff, quoted by Motorsport.com.

“We have two extremely strong drivers, but it is a huge annoyance for all of us that that the gap is about the same.

“If you’re looking at it optimistically, it’s five tenths. If you’re looking at it pessimistically, it’s more than eight tenths. And that is clearly for all of us at Mercedes not acceptable.”

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“I think we’re learning at the moment at every track. Literally every kilometre that we’re doing is an important lesson on how we can improve the car, to be honest.

“But we just need to get out of this no man’s land in which we are at the moment.”

Part of the concern around Mercedes has been centred around the floor being exposed by the skinny sidepods, and the ground effect aerodynamics may have suffered as a legacy.

However, the Austrian wants to make the unique design work, although he does not rule out making a change if they continue to struggle.

“If you want to change concept, you need to understand what’s going to make a new concept faster than the current one. And I think if he would have known, we would have done it,” added Wolff.

“At the moment it is still very much believing in the structure and organization, and trying to bring development and understanding in order to increase the pace of the car.

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“I think we just need to continue to just grind away and then, if decisions for next year need to be taken that can’t be changed on the current car, whether it’s architecture or aerodynamically, then yeah, these decisions need to happen. But we’re not at that point yet.”

Mercedes are now over 100 points behind Red Bull in the Constructors’ Standings after Perez’s victory and Max Verstappen’s third-placed finish last weekend.