Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff admits that with Mercedes’ current level of performance it is quite difficult to envisage competing for the Formula 1 drivers’ and constructors’ world championships.
In the first race of the 2022 F1 season, the Mercedes team unexpectedly managed to secure a podium finish with Lewis Hamilton in third place at the end of the event, not least because both Red Bull drivers retired late in the race, allowing the seven-time world champion to move up two positions in the standings, while his teammate George Russell finished P4.
But after this first round of the year – where the reigning world champion’s W13 team clearly showed its inferiority to the likes of Ferrari or Red Bull – the German manufacturer’s team boss admits it is a little early to start thinking about fighting for championships.
“In no mans land”
“If we look at the pecking order [after the Bahrain GP], it seems a bit early to even think about being in contention for one of the championships. But on this race weekend we probably scored as many points as we could have and we have to go from there,” Wolff said after the first round of the season.
“Every weekend counts and at the moment, and at the moment these are singular events, because realistically when you are third [Hamilton’s place in Bahrain] you can’t think about winning.”
The Austrian insisted that Mercedes is in a position where it can afford to test a number of ideas: “In a way it’s a new situation for all of us because we are somewhere in no-man’s land between P3, P4 and P6.”
“Therefore, you can experiment more, and the experiment with the hard tyres [the ones fitted to Hamilton’s car at the Bahrain GP on his first stop] was worth it, although very different to the leaders’ strategy and obviously it didn’t work at all. But at the end of the day, it’s more mileage, more laps and more learning.”
Despite its difficulties, Mercedes still holds second place in the manufacturers’ world championship ahead of the second round of the season, which starts this weekend (27th of March) in Saudi Arabia.