Toto Wolff has rejected the notion that a Mercedes victory in this year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix would represent “poetic justice”.
The return to Yas Marina in the second half of November will rekindle some unpleasant memories for Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton, following the controversial events of last December.
Hamilton looked all set to clinch a record-breaking eighth World Championship when decisions made by subsequently sacked race director Michael Masi changed the complexion of the race, giving Max Verstappen the chance to pass the Briton on the final lap and seize the title for himself.
Since then, with new technical regulations having been introduced for this season, Mercedes have failed to win a race – although they have been getting closer as the campaign has gone on whilst working out how to get the best from their puzzling W13 car.
After the Italian Grand Prix, in which George Russell finished third for Mercedes, team principal Wolff was asked if an Abu Dhabi triumph would symbolise “poetic justice” for Mercedes.
“Would it be justice? I think nothing will bring that championship back, so wherever,” Wolff told reporters.
Low-downforce Monza was not suited to the W13 but the next race, the Singapore Grand Prix, should be a much better fit based on performances at the Hungaroring and Zandvoort.
“I think the track layout should suit our car, the bumps not,” Wolff said of Singapore. “The simulations again say it should be one of our better tracks, but I am trying to stay on the careful side with any predictions for Singapore.”
Mercedes have been creeping up towards Ferrari for second place in the Constructors’ standings, now trailing the Scuderia by 35 points with Red Bull well over the horizon and holding an advantage of 139.
But P2 is of no great interest to a team like Mercedes, who have won the teams’ title for the past eight seasons, and so Wolff simply wants them to experience that winning feeling again in 2022.
Monza podium appreciation post. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/ZFUH5fllMj
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) September 13, 2022
“I think it would be awesome if we could win a race on merit without any grid penalties and I think if you would have asked us after Spa, it would be impossible,” said Wolff.
“But after Zandvoort, we nearly won that one, and here (Monza) it was not that good.
“I think that must be the target. We don’t want to end the season with no race wins, even if the sails are absolutely set for 2023. It would be quite a nice thing in a difficult season for all our people.”