Two tough weekends won’t change Merc’s 2022 plans

Date published: June 12 2021 - Henry Valantine

Toto Wolff, Mercedes team principal

Toto Wolff has insisted Mercedes will not sacrifice its development on their 2022 car to focus more on this season’s machine, just because of two “complicated weekends”.

The team principal was at the forefront of trying to improve his team’s fortunes in the most recent race weekend in Baku, refusing to speak to the media early on as his team’s struggles in practice left them rooted in the midfield before qualifying.

While Lewis Hamilton was able to compete at the front for much of the race, team-mate Valtteri Bottas was left stuck outside the points-paying positions.

This followed on from a disappointing Monaco Grand Prix weekend that saw Hamilton uncompetitive in the race, with Bottas’ infamous wheel nut issue in his pit stop ending his race entirely.

Several teams on the grid say they have already switched their primary focus to their 2022 challenger, with a sweeping set of regulation changes taking priority as the teams look to hit the ground running as the technical specification changes.

With Hamilton and Mercedes now trailing Max Verstappen and Red Bull in the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship respectively, Wolff says the team are not diverting any further resources into their 2021 car to claw back their current deficit.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

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“We have already readjusted the plans for 2022 and there is no possibility of a change,” Wolff said after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, quoted by Motorsport.com.

“We are not going to change any decisions we have already made just because we had two complicated weekends.

“We were aware that these two races would be the most difficult for us. Now we have to see how the European rounds will go, but it is obvious that the results in Monaco and Baku were below our expectations.”

Verstappen, meanwhile, believes Red Bull should go all-out in their quest to win this year, with the Dutchman topping the Formula 1 standings for the first time in his career.

Perhaps unsurprisingly in his quest for a first title, he wants to put as much focus as possible on the here and now, with no guarantee of the team having a competitive car next year.

“I think as long as we have a great chance to win this championship we should leave no stone unturned,” Verstappen said.

“This year will be difficult, but we don’t know what next year will be like. For sure if we have a chance in 2021 we will have to do everything to make it happen.”

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