Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes that Lewis Hamilton getting out of Q1 in the 2022 season is still a traumatic memory. The Austrian thinks their team culture revolves around the term ‘tough love’, which involves confronting their own mistakes and accepting their lack of performance.
Asked about the reason to put out a statement to the fans, Wolff said:
“Yeah, it can always go worse. Don't remind me of that Q1 last year, that's still a little bit of a trauma. I think we really [have] over those 10 years have created a culture which is around tough love. We were able to have conversations that are maybe in some other groups or companies or teams out of the ordinary, but in our team, we are just able to confront each other with the reality.
"And the reality is always based on our own expectations of our own performances and now we can say, you know we got it wrong last year and this is where it was and we really continue to push hard to get the car to a better place. And at the end of the season, we were able to win a Grand Prix and we were in a way respectable considering where we started the year.”
Toto Wolff outlines Mercedes' expectations for the 2023 season
Toto Wolff also stated that Mercedes will now purely focus on closing the gap to the front in 2023. The Austrian sees being able to win again as the priority of the season.
Lamenting their results in Bahrain, Wolff felt it was important for the team to take responsibility and be accountable:
“So going into 2023, the expectations were, we're going to close the gap more and we're going to be able to win more races and hopefully fight for a championship and that hasn't happened and therefore, after Bahrain, this is the status quo. And it will be the status quo in Jeddah because there ain't no miracles in the sport and we're just honest about it. And we take the responsibility and accountability. I hate the results, because of what we all expected from ourselves, and so does everybody else in the team.”
Currently, Mercedes have slipped down to the spot of the fourth-fastest team on the grid. After a tough 2022 season, the Silver Arrows squad brought in a decent car in 2023 but their rivals have stepped up too.
However, in Jeddah, they might also face tough competition from Alpine. The urgency to turn around their performance is going to be critical in 2023. Time is of the essence in the developmental race of the new aerodynamic regulation era of the sport.