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F1 | Wolff says Mercedes’ 2022 struggles “our doing”, unlike “out of control” 2021 finale

After nine seasons of the turbo-hybrid era, Mercedes didn’t win either title for the first time in 2022, after badly suffering from a car which wasn’t up to the standard of Red Bull and Ferrari – which, according to team boss Toto Wolff, was “our doing”, unlike the dramatic 2021 season finale that saw Max Verstappen and Red Bull win out.

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F1 | Wolff says Mercedes’ 2022 struggles “our doing”, unlike “out of control” 2021 finale
Fuente imagen: Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team

Whilst many expected Mercedes to bounce back even stronger from their dramatic defeat in questionable circumstances at the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP, the team struggled to put together a car capable of taking to Ferrari and Red Bull in the 2022 season, as it tried to solve a critical problem with porpoising and bouncing that limited its pace and understanding of its W13 machine.

It looked like the team would go the season winless for the first time since 2011, but a maiden win for George Russell in Interlagos secured the team their only victory of the season, with Lewis Hamilton completing a fantastic 1-2 for the team.

But the late surge in form wasn’t enough to stop Red Bull and Max Verstappen from clinching their second consecutive drivers’ world title and a first constructors’ championship since 2013.

Team principal and CEO of Mercedes F1, Toto Wolff has made it clear that the pain of losing the 2021 title was “without any doubt” more than that of 2022, due to the nature of their loss last year being “out of control” and “totally against the values” of the Brackley squad:

“Last year, without any doubt, because last year was strong, and how it ended within a couple of seconds we knew that that’s it and it’s out of control, out of your hands,” he said.

“And losing control, that was the first time since I was an adolescent. And in my sense of fairness, that was totally against the values, my values.”

He said that the team understood early on that its car wasn’t good enough and “slowly but surely” solved its main problems as the season went on, focusing on maximising what the package could offer even at its lesser tracks:

“But this year was not as peaky in terms of the emotions because we knew from the get-go at the beginning that the car was just not good enough.

“And I think we understood slowly but surely, we peel one layer of the onion and you think you’ve solved the problem, then is the next one and the next one and then we started to correlate where this car, that was really not a good one, where it could perform.

“And we tried to concentrate on these tracks, knowing that the more difficult ones like Abu Dhabi were in a way damage limitation.”

Wolff admitted that Ferrari and Red Bull did a better job” this season, and said the season was defined by “absolute meritocracy”, making it clear that this wasn’t the case – at least for the Abu Dhabi GP – in 2021:

“And I think we know so it was our doing you know, last year Abu Dhabi wasn’t our doing, this was our doing. We knew we got it wrong. We are conscious that others did a better job. And this is an absolute meritocracy how this season panned out. So that is okay,” Wolff concluded.

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