Wolff: We see the errors in it but we have something for Miami

Wolff looking forward to post-Hamilton ’refresh’


22 April 2024 - 13:51
Wolff: We see the errors in it but (...)

Just like Ferrari and also McLaren, Mercedes is planning a key car update for the forthcoming Miami GP.

The formerly-dominant team, now in a three-season slump that has cost Mercedes the post-2024 services of Lewis Hamilton, showed no signs of recovery last weekend in China.

"This is a bad car," an increasingly forthright and dejected team boss and co-owner Toto Wolff told Sky Deutschland on Sunday, when George Russell finished sixth.

"We will bring some new things to Miami, which we really need, but now we are behind the Ferraris and also Lando Norris, and that is simply not good enough."

Indeed, angered by Wolff’s push to entice Max Verstappen to Mercedes next year, Red Bull boss Christian Horner said on Sunday: "Why would anyone want to leave this team?

"Mercedes is the third team with those engines," he quipped, referring also to Aston Martin, whose Fernando Alonso finished ahead of Hamilton on Sunday.

Wolff admits that, for the third consecutive season, Mercedes’ new car for another long season is flawed - but he’s hopeful some updates can start to turn the situation around.

"We see the errors in it but we have something for Miami and it looks like a good move. Let’s see where it takes us," said the Austrian.

It’s also clear that, with Hamilton moving to Ferrari or 2025, the love affair between the seven time world champion and the Brackley based team is most definitely over.

Wolff actually implied that Hamilton was to blame for getting the car setup so wrong after Saturday’s sprint race.

"We definitely positioned the car incorrectly," he said. "Lewis set a development direction that was so wrong that the car didn’t make it around the corners."

Wolff also suggested that Mercedes will not be hurt by Hamilton’s departure.

"The fact is that the role of the driver in the development of a car is overestimated," he said. "It’s worse to lose an engineer than a driver."

Hamilton hit back: "I’m not a car designer. I wish I was!"

While Wolff’s dream-pick for 2025 is Max Verstappen, also in the running is Carlos Sainz, who is believed to have been offered a one-year deal that leaves the door open for Kimi Antonelli’s 2026 Formula 1 debut.

"There are some interesting discussions and interesting options," Wolff said, "both short and long term. I’m looking forward to starting a new era next year with a new driver.

"Twelve years with Lewis was incredible, but now there’s a refresh."

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