Mercedes double DNF makes Toto Wolff ‘want to punch himself on the nose’

Toto Wolff gives his verdict on Mercedes' most difficult day of F1 2024 so far.

Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 3, Australian
Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director…

Toto Wolff says Mercedes’ double DNF at the F1 Australian Grand Prix makes him “want to punch himself on the nose”.

Mercedes sunk to a new low this season as both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell failed to see the chequered flag in Sunday’s race in Melbourne.

An engine failure forced Hamilton to retire in the early exchanges before teammate Russell crashed hard on the final lap in his pursuit of Fernando Alonso’s sixth-placed Aston Martin.

Mercedes leave Australia fourth in the constructors’ championship, 71 points adrift of Red Bull, 29 behind McLaren and only a single point clear of Aston Martin after three rounds.

"Tough to take, super tough,” Wolff said. "I would be lying if I said at any moment I felt positive about the situation and optimistic.

“You just need to overcome the negative thoughts and say, 'we will turn this around'. Today it feels very, very brutal.”

Wolff continued: "We started this season in the belief that this car was better than last year.

“Then you look at last year [in Australia] where Leclerc crashed out and Sainz was fourth on the road, McLaren were 17th, 18th or 19th and now they are 40 seconds ahead of us.

"On one side, I want to punch myself on the nose. On the other side, it's a testimony that when you get things right, you can turn it around pretty quickly and continue to believe.

"At the moment, it's a very tough time.”

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 3, Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park,
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd…

Wolff was asked whether he has considered his own position at Mercedes given the team’s ongoing competitive woes.

"As a corner of this business, I need to be sure that my contribution is positive and creative," he responded.

"I would be the first one to say, if someone has a better idea, tell me, because I'm interested to turn this team around as quickly as possible. And I'll happily give my input and see what that would be or who that could be.

"We have a physics problem, not a philosophical or organisational problem. We haven't swallowed a dumb pill since 2021. It's just we don't understand some of the behaviours of the car, that in the past we would have always understood.

"I look myself in the mirror every single day about everything I do, and if I believe that I should ask the manager question or the trainer question, I think it's a fair question, but it's not what I feel at the moment that I should do."

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