Toto Wolff didn’t hold back in his take on Mercedes’ disappointing performance at the Brazilian GP, saying that the team’s W14 car “doesn’t deserve a win”.
Mercedes had high hopes going into the race at Interlagos, but the team struggled for pace throughout and were left fighting towards the tail end of the points, while customer teams McLaren and Aston Martin both ended up on the podium.
Lewis Hamilton ultimately crossed the line in eighth, six seconds behind the Alpine of Pierre Gasly, while George Russell was forced to retire with a cooling issue while running in ninth and struggling to stay in the points.
After an encouraging performance last time out at the Mexico City GP, the team are left scratching their heads after another tough outing in Sao Paolo, and Wolff didn’t pull any punches when giving his assessment of the performance after the race.
“I mean, I can only feel for (the drivers) driving such a miserable thing,” Wolff told Sky Sports F1.
“It shows how difficult the car is, it’s on a knife’s edge and we have got to develop that better for next year, because it can’t be that within seven days you’re finishing on the podium, probably one of the two quickest cars, and then finish where we did.
Asked if he felt the format of the Sprint weekend, with the shorter window to get the car’s setup right, had been a factor, Wolff said while it could have an impact, it wasn’t decisive.
“We’re clearly not the world champions on sprint race weekends, we do some good work here on track to get it done. But still doesn’t explain what goes what went wrong. I mean, that car almost drove like on three wheels and not on four,” he added.
Doesn’t deserve a win
Mercedes have been targetting a win in 2023, despite the clear dominance of Red Bull and Max Verstappen, and the Brazilain GP was viewed as a prime chance on a track where the team have and particularly Hamilton have thrived in the past.
But Wolff said the current car wasn’t one that necessarily deserved a spot at the top of the podium.
“This car doesn’t deserve a win. I think we need to push for the last two races and recover. I think that’s the most important thing and see what we can do in Las Vegas, a totally different track and Abu Dhabi,” Wolff added.
“But the performance today was…I’m just lacking words.”