Toto Wolff claps back at Helmut Marko over Mercedes legality comments

Another flexi-wing controversy could be building in F1 after Helmut Marko and Toto Wolff traded verbal blows

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Toto Wolff attempted to knock Helmut Marko – and an unfortunate journalist – down a peg or two at the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix after questions around the legality of Mercedes‘ new front wing that’s precipitated an upturn in form.

Mercedes brought their upgrade to the Monaco which produced their highest-scoring grand prix of the season, they reaped even bigger rewards a fortnight later in Canada when George Russell scored their first podium of 2024.

That prompted Marko to speculate whether the package was legal, saying teams often lower their wings after it’s passed flexibility tests and highlighting how much Mercedes‘ part was bending in Montreal but denying Red Bull had cried foul to the FIA.

“I think everybody is trying to push the boundaries within the regulations,” Wolff told select members of the press including Total-Motorsport.com. “And I think what we’ve been able to do over the last three races

“Particularly on the right side where we believe that we’ve made a big step and all of the arrow bits that came since then, and maybe we’ve just been very much on the other end of where we should have been in on wings and floors and all of that”

Wolff Mercedes are improving every race

Lewis Hamilton during 2024 Spanish GP weekend | Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton during 2024 Spanish GP weekend | Mercedes

Wolff also hit back against any question that Mercedes have become more conservative with their upgrades, highlighting how much of a difference the unseen parts of an F1 car can make.

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is a popular venue for teams to bring significant upgrades, with its history as a testing host for F1 meaning there’s plenty of data to compare new parts with.

Mercedes enjoyed an impressive showing in Friday practice as Lewis Hamilton topped the FP2 timesheets and Russell‘s long-run pace gave Wolff reason to smile too, but they’ve often seen performance evaporate on Saturday mornings in 2024.

“We brought parts, quite a bit to this race, but maybe not the visible ones,” Wolff added.

“I think in that fight you need to add performance every single grand prix even if it’s just a few milliseconds here and there, but we brought parts. In F1 everybody jumps to a conclusion and says ‘I’ve seen that front wing and those side parts and those deflectors’.”

“Front wings play a big role today, it’s clear aeroelasticity plays a big role, but so do the floors and I think it’s always the combination of these. You can have a front wing that flexes like a banana and passes the test, but the rest of the car just doesn’t work properly with the interaction.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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