Saturday, April 20, 2024

Mercedes’ Toto Wolff: “We are on a positive trajectory”

Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team CEO and Team Principal Toto Wolff was in good spirits following the Canadian Grand Prix, with the W14 showing much improved pace and Lewis Hamilton securing yet another podium.

Mercedes predicted pre-race that Canada would be a tough weekend for them, with the circuit not suiting the characteristics of their car, but Hamilton managed to secure the team their first consecutive podium of the season showing some encouraging pace.

The Brackley-based team brought in a big upgrade package at the Monaco Grand Prix a few weeks ago, completing changing the concept of their car, and after a few races, Wolff is extremely happy with the progress that the upgrades have made and he is pleased it is working well.

“Today’s race was an encouraging one for the Team. We knew that Canada was going to be one of the more difficult circuits for us, so to come away with a podium is a solid result.

“We were also not too far away from Max (Verstappen), much closer than we would have expected at the beginning of the season. The margin is still large, so we have lots more work to do. We are on a positive trajectory though and the update package clearly works well.”

Wolff went on to talk about George Russell, who unfortunately had his race ended by a brake issue, when he was attempting to recover some positions following a crash into the wall at turn nine. The Briton was challenging Alonso in the first part of the race before his crash and then later had worked his way back into the points, but an issue with his brakes saw him retire for the first time this season.
“George was unlucky today. He hit a large kerb and tried to keep it cornering and ended up in the wall. He was pushing hard, and this car is still a little bit difficult at times. He ultimately retired with brake wear issues.”

Andrew Shovlin: “We’ve clearly got a bit of pace to find before we’ll be worrying Max

Credit: Steve Etherington

Mercedes‘ Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin was pleased with the performance of the team in Canada, but made it clear that they are aiming for more, and on the hunt to close down the gap to Max Verstappen and Oracle Red Bull Racing.

Shovlin explained that the Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve didn’t suit the W14, especially compared to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, where both drivers finished on the podium a few weeks ago, so the team were pleased to see the pace almost on par with Aston Martin Armaco Cognizant F1 Team and Scuderia Ferrari. He also touched upon Russell’s race and challenge him to bounce back at Austria at the next Grand Prix weekend.

“We knew this track would be more difficult for us than Barcelona, so it’s encouraging to see that we were very close on pace to Aston Martin and Ferrari. Lewis did a great job to get on the podium today.

“George meanwhile is clearly disappointed with his mistake but we’re second in the championship because both drivers have delivered so consistently over the season. His race came ended due to a front brake wear issue; that was not as a direct result of the incident but because of the traffic he faced as he battled back through the field. We know he will come back strongly in Austria, as the Team continues to push forward.”

Shovlin went on to look at the future for Mercedes, and he is hoping that the next few races will be good for Mercedes as they look to close the gap to Verstappen at the front.

We didn’t quite have the pace we needed to get second but when we look at the tracks that lie ahead of us, we should have a car that can regularly fight for the top-three. We’ve clearly got a bit of pace to find before we’ll be worrying Max, but the Team is working well to bring performance and very motivated to close that gap.