Toto Wolff makes feelings clear on sacking Mercedes engineers


Mercedes chief Toto Wolff insists his team will not be sacking any of their engineers, despite their dismal start to the new F1 season. Silver Arrows stars Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were only able to finish fifth and seventh respectively at the Bahrain Grand Prix, with Mercedes ending the day in third position in the Constructors’ Championship standings.

“An organisation is constantly changing and you can’t stop that either,” Wolff said. “Now it’s about how we develop further and discussions are taking place about what the organisation should look like in the future. But it is not as if we are going to make heads roll. It’s better to ask, ‘how can we function as well as possible in the future?’”

Mercedes dominated F1 between 2014 and 2021 as they won eight consecutive Constructors’ Championships. But they finished behind Red Bull and Ferrari last year, with Aston Martin now vying to move ahead of them as well this season.

Hamilton and Russell were unable to keep pace with the drivers at the front of the track in Bahrain, with Red Bull ace Max Verstappen storming to victory ahead of team-mate Sergio Perez. Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso took the final place on the podium, while Ferrari star Carlos Sainz finished fourth.

“One of the worst days in racing,” Wolff hissed after the race in the Middle East. “Really not good at all – we were just lacking pace front, right, and centre. Red Bull is just on a different planet. That is what hurts because they are so far ahead, it reminds me of our best years because we just put a second on everybody else.

“That is the benchmark and we have to do one step after the other to come back and we can do that. We can, absolutely we can. I think it needs to be much more radical in the steps than hope for a three tenths upgrade. I think we’ve almost doubled if not if not tripled the gap to Red Bull – and this is what we need to look at.”

Some reports claim that Hamilton is unhappy with Mercedes and is growing impatient with their problems on the track after they ignored his advice about improving their car last year. But the 38-year-old insists he is trying to stay positive.

“Concern wouldn’t be the word,” he said. “There’s nothing that I can say. I don’t really want to say too much. We’ve just got to keep working. We know we’re not where we need to be and we know that this isn’t the right car. It’s a difficult one but I’ve just got to stay positive. I’ve got to keep my head up and keep pushing the guys, keep trying to be a positive light for them and get the best points I can each weekend.”

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