Formula 1 Racing

Correlation issues, not dogmatism behind Mercedes F1 struggles

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team

The Mercedes 2022 challenger was plagued by porpoising and bouncing while its W14 successor drew complaints from drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell over rear-end handling instability.

That prompted Mercedes to change concept for 2024, fully abandoning a size-zero sidepod architecture in the hope of developing a platform that was more predictable and consistent.

But the new W15 has also proved temperamental, and Mercedes motorsport boss Wolff believes this now points to the team’s wind tunnel findings not matching how the car behaves on track.

“When I look at the positives, I think we took many potential root causes out of the equation,” Wolff said of Mercedes addressing the weaknesses of its recent ground-effect creations.

“We weren’t sure about our suspension. We weren’t sure about the stiffness of our gearbox carrier. We had a vibrating steering rack. All of those things have disappeared.

“But fundamentally, whatever we see in the tunnel doesn’t correlate with what’s happening on the track.”

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

The Austrian reckoned it was a blanket issue with translating the data, rather than any one member of staff leading the team in the wrong direction with their specific interpretation.

He continued: “It is not a single person that says, ‘I would interpret that data in this way’ and because of a dogma, because of dogmatism, we’re not making any progress.

“I don’t see dogmatism. I see an open environment where people share, where people take themselves by the nose and say, ‘Maybe in my area we are making mistakes’.”

Wolff has frequently talked up Mercedes having a ‘no blame’ culture.

The former Williams F1 team shareholder continued: “It’s so tough in my career, in everything I’ve done before, be it in finance and investment, that you know which screws to turn.

“Sometimes it takes time because back in my Williams days, I knew what was missing.

“But here, I don’t think we are missing something. It is just a complication of what’s happening with the car that we can’t see. It’s like an on-off switch.”

Watch: F1 2024 Australian Grand Prix Review – Ferrari On Top Down Under

Wolff’s assessment followed last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, from which Hamilton retired with a power unit failure before Russell wiped out late on as Ferrari scored a 1-2.

“Then you see the progress that McLaren

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