Toto Wolff’s troubling verdict after ‘not good enough’ result in the Chinese GP

Michelle Foster
Toto Wolff speaking to Ted Kravitz in the paddock.

Toto Wolff speaking to Ted Kravitz

Having proclaimed a month prior that the W15 was “not a bad car”, Toto Wolff has changed his tune and told Ted Kravitz after a lacklustre result in China that is “not an OK car”.

Having started the Chinese Grand Prix weekend with a front-row grid slot and a podium in the Sprint, Mercedes weekend took a hit in qualifying as the team experimented with the W15’s set-up.

Mercedes’ Chinese GP performance was ‘not good enough’

Going a “long way”, as Lewis Hamilton put it, in opposite directions, the Briton suffered a disaster as he was eliminated in Q1 where he was down in 18th place.

He clawed his way into the points, finishing in ninth place, while George Russell went from eighth on the grid to sixth at the chequered flag.

He though, was 20 seconds shy of the podium and 38 behind race winner Max Verstappen, with Hamilton a further 20 seconds back.

Mercedes team principal Wolff admits that’s “not good enough”.

“I think considering where we put the cars altogether, the drivers and the team was not in a good position today,” he told Kravitz. “Not good enough overall. P6 I think it was, and P10 (ninth, ed), but it was lacking pace.

“So we’ve got to dig deep. We’ve got something coming from Miami that looks like a good step. Let’s see where that brings us.” recommends

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Toto Wolff: W15 is not an OK car

Such were Mercedes’ troubles at the Shanghai International Circuit, the Austrian, who after the Australian Grand Prix insisted the W15 was “not a bad car”, told the Sky pit reporter that Mercedes’ 2024 challenger was “not an OK” car.

Asked if the W15 was ‘fundamentally, now that we have a decent number of races under our belt, an OK car’, Wolff accepted: “No, no, it’s not an OK car.

“I think we can see what the mistakes were on the car. I think we wanted to go a bit more aggressive to see if it is something that is so different that we need to do on the car.

“You can see Lewis today who took it on, that was maybe a step too far.”

Questioned about Hamilton’s experiments, Wolff did not reveal specific details other than to say whatever the experiment was, it was not the way to go.

“Well also the race car was not fast,” he said. “We could hear him saying the car doesn’t turn and this is what we’ve been seeing on the data.

“It was just wasn’t the right thing to do.”

Up to 52 points after China, Mercedes put some distance between themselves and Aston Martin, that gap up to 12 points. Their deficit to Mercedes though, grew to 44 points

Wolff is hoping the team’s Miami upgrades bring some added performance to the car but wouldn’t give it a number.

“Let’s see, hopefully a bit,” he said when asked about it.

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