Wolff questions Ferrari’s admission of defeat

Mark Scott
Mercedes Ferrari PA

Ferrari were "68 hp" up on Mercedes at times in 2019.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has questioned Ferrari openly conceding defeat for both the 2020 and 2021 Formula 1 seasons.

There is no escaping the fact that the Scuderia have been way, way off the pace since the revised 2020 season got underway, but Ferrari chairman John Elkann has only compounded the misery by stating that the team won’t get back to winning ways until at least 2022.

Ahead of the British Grand Prix weekend, Elkann said in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport: “[Ferrari is going] through a difficult period that starts far back. We have not won a Constructors’ World Championship since 2008 nor a drivers’ one since 2007.

“There has been Red Bull’s winning cycle thanks to aerodynamic capacity and then Mercedes for their great ability in hybrid engine technologies.

“This year we are not competitive thanks to project errors. We have had a number of structural weaknesses that have existed for some time in aerodynamics and in the dynamics of the vehicle. We have also lost out in engine power.

“The reality is that our car is not competitive. You saw it on the track and you will see it again. Today we are laying the foundations for being competitive and returning to winning when the rules change in 2022. I am convinced of this.”

That statement has rippled through the Silverstone paddock, with drivers and team bosses alike asked for their reaction to this clear admission of defeat.

Wolff is not completely convinced it was the right approach to take.

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“I saw those comments but it’s hard for me to judge,” Wolff told Sky Sports F1.

“Is it really possible to dismiss two seasons at once in order to prepare for 2022?

“We are only allowed to start developing the new car in January next year, which means that even if you write off this season, it will not give you any advantage.

“But I don’t think it’s my business to comment on the plans of Ferrari.”

However, Haas boss, Guenther Steiner, is not surprised in the slightest given Ferrari’s miserable start to the season.

“I’m aware of the situation we are in and I see what they are doing and they are in, so I was not very surprised by the statement from Mr Elkann,” Steiner said in Friday’s FIA press conference.

“So it was no surprise.

“For sure, it’s never nice to be told it will be difficult but again if you admit that it will be difficult you work hard to make it better going forward.

“But I wasn’t really surprised that he said that because for sure they did their analysis of the first three races and came to that conclusion and he just said it how it is.”

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