Now Playing

Now Playing IconNow Playing:

Evolve Radio

Artist Name

Album Art

Wolff on Mercedes’ struggles: I want to punch myself in the nose

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has admitted he “wants to punch himself in the nose” following the team’s hugely disappointing start to the 2024 Formula 1 season.

The Silver Arrows campaign reached new depths at Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton and George Russell both retired to leave Mercedes fifth in the constructors’ standings after the first three races of the season.

Mercedes, who have won just one race since new design regulations were introduced in 2022, came into 2024 optimistic that an overhaul of their car would enable them to challenge for victories this season.

Seven-time world champion Hamilton, who is leaving Mercedes to join Ferrari at the end of the season, retired with an engine failure on lap 17 having only qualified 11th, while Russell crashed on the penultimate lap when chasing Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso for sixth.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Highlights of the Australian GP from Albert Park, Melbourne

“Tough to take, super tough,” said Wolff, who led Mercedes to eight successive constructors’ titles from 2014 to 2021.

“I would be lying if I said at any moment I felt positive about the situation and optimistic.

“You just need to overcome the negative thoughts and say, ‘we will turn this around’. Today it feels very, very brutal.”

Despite the imperfections of last year’s car, Mercedes beat Ferrari and McLaren to second in the constructors’ standings behind Red Bull, but Wolff’s squad now appear to have fallen significantly behind in the race to chase down Max Verstappen.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Carlos Sainz produces an incredible performance to win the Australian Grand Prix for a Ferrari 1-2, while George Russell crashes out on the final lap for a Mercedes double DNF

“We started this season in the belief that this car was better than last year,” he said. “Then you look at last year [in Australia] where Leclerc crashed out and Sainz was fourth on the road, McLaren were 17th, 18th or 19th and now they are 40 seconds ahead of us.

“On one side, I want to punch myself on the nose. On the other side, it’s a testimony that when you get things right, you can turn it around pretty quickly and continue to believe.

“At the moment, it’s a very tough time.”

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Hamilton says the gap from Mercedes to Red Bull is the same as last year after he retired from the Australian Grand Prix following an engine failure

‘I haven’t got the choice to leave Mercedes’

Speaking to reporters in Melbourne after the race, Wolff was asked whether he has considered his own position given Mercedes’ prolonged struggles.

“As a corner of this business, I need to be sure that my contribution is positive and creative,” he said.

“I would be the first one to say, if someone has a better idea, tell me, because I’m interested to turn this team around as quickly as possible. And I’ll happily give my input and see what that would be or who that could be.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Karun Chandhok was at the SkyPad to look at whether Fernando Alonso caused Russell’s huge crash on the final lap of the Australian Grand Prix

“We have a physics problem, not a philosophical or organisational problem. We haven’t swallowed a dumb pill since 2021. It’s just we don’t understand some of the behaviours of the car, that in the past we would have always understood.

“I look myself in the mirror every single day about everything I do, and if I believe that I should ask the manager question or the trainer question, I think it’s a fair question, but it’s not what I feel at the moment that I should do.”

Wolff then explained that his situation cannot be talked about like the manager of a football team, given he will remain tied to Mercedes regardless of whether or not he remains in his role, due to his 33 per cent ownership stake in the team.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Russell and Alonso give there accounts of Russell’s final-lap crash where the Aston Martin driver appeared to slow dramatically

He added: “The big difference is it’s not like the manager question in terms of, this is my job, I’ll stop the job and then somebody else is doing the job and I’ll go to Chelsea or to Liverpool, or over to Ferrari.

“I haven’t got that choice, which is also unfortunate. I’m not a contractor or employee that says, ‘I’ve had enough of this’. My hamster wheel keeps spinning and I can’t jump out.”

Formula 1’s biggest ever season continues with the Japanese Grand Prix, live on Sky Sports F1 from April 5-7. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership – No contract, cancel anytime

Get Sky Sports on WhatsApp!

Sky Sports WhatsApp channel

You can now start receiving messages and alerts for the latest breaking sports news, analysis, in-depth features and videos from our dedicated WhatsApp channel!

Find out more here…

Sky News
(c) Sky Sports 2024:Source