Mercedes mocked as Ted Kravitz asks cockroach to help Toto Wolff

Horner opens up on Red Bull's 'barren spell' amid Mercedes dominance

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Sky F1 reporter Ted Kravitz poked fun at Mercedes boss Toto Wolff by asking a cockroach to help the team after their disappointing performance in Bahrain. The Silver Arrows remain well off the pace of Red Bull, while they also lagged behind Ferrari and Aston Martin in the hunt for a podium finish around the Bahrain International Circuit. 

Mercedes have gone against the grain in the ground-effect design era, with their radical approach to sidepods broadly different to what can be seen elsewhere on the grid. The team extracted good results from last year’s W13 towards the back end of the season, persuading them to stick with a similar design this year. 

However, concerning results in pre-season testing, practice and qualifying in Sakhir prompted Wolff to publicly declare that a drastic change of approach is on the cards with a view to fighting back to the top in the long term. 

When discussing the U-turn, Kravitz told Sky Sports: “Wolff called it one of the worst days in racing. That’s because of the realisation that they are the fourth quickest car in Formula 1. Fifth and seventh is not going to win Lewis Hamilton’s eighth world championship this year.

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“I don’t know whether he’s writing it off mentally now. He’s encouraging the team to get on with it, as is Toto Wolff. He’s going to task and inspire his team to build a new car. There is, after all, going to have to be a plan B. I don’t think there was one in the pipeline but there’s going to have to be now because Toto Wolff has challenged his team.”

A few seconds later, the cameraman picked up on a desert bug scuttling outside the Mercedes garage. With engineers in close proximity, Kravitz approached the bug and started: “Has he got a plan B? Do you have a plan B, little fella? Do you know how to build a good Mercedes? Do you know how to build a fast car, mate? They could do with your help here.”

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The P5 and P7 picked up by Hamilton and George Russell represented Mercedes’ worst points total from an opening race since 2013. Wolff has further reasons to call for drastic action, too, as Aston Martin announced their arrival among the front-runners with a superb podium for Fernando Alonso. 

The Silver Arrows put together an unprecedented streak of team dominance between 2014 and 2021, picking up eight consecutive Constructors’ Championships. Red Bull romped to last year’s crown, and they look well on course to repeat the feat this year. 

Former F1 star David Coulthard has called out Wolff for taking such an extreme stance with the season barely underway, telling Channel 4: “I think [his assessment] was brutal. This car has only been alive for six days, a few days of testing, three days here. I don’t know where he’s coming from with that.

“But yeah, they’ve got a completely different strategy with the sidepods. They clearly have to try and follow the pack now. But that is like a big kick in the whatnots for design team.”

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