'Inexcusable' - Wolff’s brutal assessment of Mercedes’ worst race of F1 2023

Toto Wolff delivered a brutally honest assessment on what he described as being an “inexcusable” performance by Mercedes at the F1 Sao Paulo Grand Prix. 
'Inexcusable' - Wolff’s brutal assessment of Mercedes’ worst race of F1 2023

Mercedes endured their worst race of a difficult 2023 season, with Lewis Hamilton slipping to eighth, while teammate George Russell retired with an overheating power unit when running in a lowly 11th. 

It was a result that brought Mercedes back down to earth after the team appeared to be making encouraging gains in the first two races of the Americas triple-header. 

Compounding Mercedes’ misery, Hamilton finished over a minute behind race-winner Max Verstappen.

“An inexcusable performance. There’s no words for that,” Wolff told Sky.

“That car finished second last week and the week before and whatever we did to it was horrible. Lewis survived out there but I can only feel for the two driving such a miserable thing.

“It shows how difficult the car is, it’s on a knife’s edge. You’ve got to develop that better for next year, because it can’t be that within seven days you’re finishing on the podium, solid, with one of the two quickest cars, and then you’re nowhere and finishing eighth.”

Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7, Monaco Grand
Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director…

Wolff continued: “We are clearly not world champions on sprint race weekends. We do some good work, here on track, to get it done. 

“Still, that doesn’t explain what went wrong. The car almost drove like it was on three wheels and not on four.”

Asked if the W14 deserves a win before the end of the year, Wolff replied: “This car doesn’t deserve a win. We need to push for the last two races and recover. I think that’s the most important thing.

“And see what we can do in Las Vegas, a totally different track, and Abu Dhabi. But the performance today was… just…. I am just lacking words.”

Mercedes struggled with straightline speed throughout the weekend, as well as extreme tyre degradation, with Wolff hinting that the team got their set-up wrong. 

“Straight-line speed was one issue but not the main factor,” Wolff explained. 

“The main factor was that we couldn’t go around the corner, with the bigger wing, with the base we needed. We were killing the tyres, just eating them up, within a few lap.” 

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