Mercedes’ Mid-Season F1 Report Card: 5 Key Takeaways From Boss Toto Wolff 

Mercedes’ Mid-Season F1 Report Card: 5 Key Takeaways From Boss Toto Wolff 

After a resounding double-podium finish at the Hungarian GP, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Team Principal Toto Wolff answered some key questions regarding the Silver Arrows’ performance this season, the team’s off-track ambitions in 2022, and fan support after 2021’s fall from grace.

The short conversation revealed much of Mercedes’ position halfway into their most challenging championship run in several years — and gave us an insight into Wolff’s long and demanding checklist ahead of the sport’s mid-season break.  

Here’s some of the biggest takeaways: 

Unashamed of Mercedes’ Weak Start To 2022 

“The start to the season wasn’t really any good and there’s no other way to describe it,” said Wolff, explaining how winning the constructors championship in December and losing the plot just four months later was ‘frustrating’ for him. 

During these early months, Wolff was busy warding off media criticism while pumping resources into Mercedes’ engineering pipeline, desperately trying to keep up spirits while Lewis Hamilton languished in a distant P13 during April’s Imola GP, much to the dismay of fans. 

“Since then, we’ve been on a rollercoaster,” adds Wolff. “We’ve been on the podium in almost every race. We’ve been strong on Sundays, but were never quite there in qualifying.”  

Laser-focused on Mercedes’ Highs and Lows 

Credits: @MercedesAMGF1/Twitter

Staying optimistic was clearly tough for Wolff, who’s World Championship standards were quickly dismantled this year. When pressed for the season’s positives, he replied rather stoically, “The days we lose are the days we learn the most. Our car was really difficult — there was a time when we thought it wouldn’t improve.” 

In the long term, however, Wolff paints a much rosier picture after his ‘tough learnings’. “Our time span is not a single weekend or even a single year,” he asserts. “We’re looking at developing the organisation over two, five, and ten years — for this maybe, the learnings and the toughness we had to feel this year can be beneficial.” 

Wolff’s Greatest Enemy — Bouncing 

Lead Image: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team/Youtube

“Our biggest weakness from the get-go was that our car was bouncing,” said Wolff to no-one’s surprise, referencing the team’s long-standing b. Mercedes’ slow approach to aerodynamics, worsened by 2022’s massive regulation changes, resulted in the W13 car bouncing hard on the straights, rattling George Russell and Lewis Hamilton’s spines in the process. 

Fortunately, by the season break, Mercedes seems to have gotten things under control. “After Barcelona, we have understood better, and by the break we have no porpoising whatsoever. Having said that, we are missing a few months of development,” Wolff relented. “This is where we’re playing a catch-up game with the guys in front.” 

Making Industry Changes Off-Track 

Credits: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team/Youtube

Described as Wolff’s ‘highlight’ for 2022 so far, the team principal went on to detail Mercedes’ many inclusivity programmes directed at increasing hiring diversity within the organisation. Foremost among these is `Axillary 25’, a hiring plan that aims to ensure that 25% of new hires come from underrepresented backgrounds.  

In terms of sustainability, Wolff also showcased the team factory’s 100% clean energy supply. “We are the only ones doing this,” he proudly stated. “We are also on track not only for becoming carbon neutral, but net zero too. We have also committed to sustainable aviation fuel, and have also committed to investing in refineries that can make sustainable fuel available for all industries.” 

Support From Fans 

Credits: @MercedesAMGF1/Twitter

Despite his tough exterior, Wolff also shared the deep appreciation he held for Mercedes’ fans, who have held through an unexpected dip in performance at the start of the 2022 season. 

“We had a tough end of the season last year and a tough start to this season,” said Wolff. “But, we feel the support. As a team, we really feel the strong emotional backing from you guys and the fans out there. Keep rooting for us, and as a team we will come back for victories and world championships.” 

Lead Image: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team/Youtube

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