Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Mercedes’ Toto Wolff discusses preparation for Miami: “It’s a circuit that is a different beast”

Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team Principal Toto Wolff said that he is excited to continue onto the Miami Grand Prix, which comes on the heels of last week’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Having experienced the FIA Formula 1 World Championship’s new sprint format, Wolff added that there is still discussion to be had regarding the “merits” of the session schedule. 

“From the streets of Baku to the streets of Miami. We’re looking forward to being back on track so quickly after an interesting, but challenging, weekend in Baku. The new sprint format threw up some surprises and we now need to evaluate the merits of it, and if there are any tweaks necessary.”

With only one free practice to prepare the car, Wolff felt that the team weren’t able to perfect their set-up for Baku City Circuit. This put the team on the back foot for the remainder of the weekend and hindered them from competing with their nearest competitors ahead– especially when paired with how difficult overtaking had proven to be. Ultimately, Lewis Hamilton crossed the line in sixth, and George Russell finished eighth. 

“Unfortunately, we didn’t quite get our car in the right set-up window during practice. That made the rest of the weekend more difficult. Our race pace looked competitive against the Ferraris and Aston Martins, but with overtaking so tricky, we couldn’t put this to the test. That’s about where our car is right now but we also know small differences can have a big impact weekend by weekend.”

Wolff said that the team will have to assemble the data they have from Baku in the short stint between race weekends to get ready to take on Miami International Autodrome, which has a wide variety of track features. 

“We’re excited therefore to get to Miami and get back on track. We’ll be using the few days in between to extract as many learnings as we can and put ourselves in the best possible position. It’s a circuit that is a different beast compared to the last few races. There’s a real mix of corners, with some high-speed sections, long straights but also tight, twisty portions.”

Plenty of action is expected off-track this weekend as well, and Wolff is confident that Miami will replicate the “incredible” atmosphere of last year’s debut event. 

“It’s also going to be a busy weekend with plenty of off-track activities and events for the team and our partners. There was an incredible buzz last year and I have no doubts it will be another spectacular event this year.”

Credit: Wolfgang Wilhelm / Daimler AG