Toto Wolff ‘not checking out the neighbour’ as he mulls over Hamilton and Russell’s cars

Mercedes: What’s gone wrong at the F1 and can they recover?

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Mercedes chief Toto Wolff has spoken about his frustration at the team’s recent struggles, admitting they “just don’t understand” how to get the best out of their car. The 2022 season has proved to be a struggle so far for the normally-reliable Silver Arrows.

Mercedes have endured a difficult start, with just one podium appearance each in the first five races for Lewis Hamilton and George Russell. Russell is currently fourth in the driver standings, 45 points behind leader Charles Leclerc, while seven-time world champion Hamilton is down in sixth.

Mercedes also sit third in the constructors’ championship on 95 points, 62 behind current leaders Ferrari. The team’s biggest problem this season has been ‘porpoising’, which has caused the car to bounce uncontrollably on the straights.

At the most recent race in Miami, the ‘porpoising’ issue was much reduced in the first practice session. However, the problems resurfaced the following day and affected Hamilton and Russell in qualifying.

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Hamilton ultimately finished sixth in the race, while Russell finished one spot ahead of his teammate. And when asked about the ongoing problems with the car, Wolff said: “In Barcelona, we can compare the car with the way it was during the winter tests.

“After that we have to look in the mirror. At the moment we are still faithful to the current concept. We are not looking at the neighbour to see if they are prettier or not.

“It is clear that there is potential in the car, but we just don’t understand how to get that out. It’s a painful process because it takes a long time.”

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Russell has also admitted the team remain baffled by their struggles this season, insisting “there is a fast car there”. He said: “We have the brightest engineers in the business working day and night to try to understand it and we still don’t have a clear answer as to why.

“We need to keep on analysing. This weekend may turn out to be one of the most important weekends when we look back. There is a fast car there – we only have to look at the data from Friday and compare it.”

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