Monday, April 15, 2024

Mercedes ‘Relishing’ Ferrari Battle Across Final Rounds of 2023 Season – Toto Wolff

Toto Wolff acknowledged that the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team were in damage limitation mode during the Japanese Grand Prix weekend as they looked to minimise their points deficit to Scuderia Ferrari as the two teams battle over second place in the Constructors’ Championship.

On the back of a strong weekend in Singapore, Mercedes were not able to fight at the same kind of level at the Suzuka International Racing Course, with Lewis Hamilton ending fifth and George Russell seventh, both finishing behind one of the Ferraris who finished fourth and sixth.

Wolff, the Team Principal at Mercedes, says the team did as good a job as possible in Japan, and he hopes for a more competitive outing this weekend in Qatar.

“We knew our pace in Japan wouldn’t match what we had been able to show in Singapore,” said Wolff.  “They are very different circuits and the characteristics of Suzuka highlighted the weaknesses of the W14.

“It was therefore important that we limited the damage to Ferrari in the Championship. With six races to go, we are relishing the fight and will be giving it our all to stay ahead, starting this weekend in Qatar.”

Hamilton won the first Qatar Grand Prix back in 2021 in commanding fashion, and Wolff says everyone at Mercedes are excited to return to the Lusail International Circuit, even if the sprint race format means limited re-learning track time prior to the important sessions of the weekend.

“We return to Lusail for the first time since 2021,” he added.  “The inaugural Grand Prix there was a successful one for us, so we are looking forward to going back. With its sweeping turns, it’s a demanding circuit and one the drivers also enjoy.

“Since our last visit, there have been changes both on and off track. A key feature of FP1 therefore will be understanding the effect of the track resurfacing.

“As it is a Sprint weekend, we will have limited time to get on top of this and find a solid set-up for the rest of the event. It will be an interesting task and one we are excited for.”