Toto Wolff makes ‘complete disaster’ Mercedes admission ahead of 2023

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has admitted that the 2022 season felt like ‘a complete disaster’ for the Silver Arrows after Lewis Hamilton failed to get anywhere close to his eighth world championship. Ferrari and Red Bull both finished above Mercedes in the constructors’ championship, prompting Wolff and his staff to rue a disappointing year. 

George Russell’s triumph in Brazil was Mercedes’ only Grand Prix win of the year, with Hamilton failing to secure a race win across a season for the first time in his career. Max Verstappen and Red Bull breezed to a drivers’ and constructors’ championship double. 

Wolff has revealed that there was a feeling among the team that 2022 was a ‘disaster’ of a year. He is aiming for a positive start to the new season. 

“For me the perspective or the planning is not about short termism. It’s not about a race, even a season or two or five. I would like this team to constantly develop to be chasing for race victories and Championships every single year,” the Austrian said. 

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“But not taking it for granted, not having any sense of entitlement and if I hear us talking, it almost sounds like the complete disaster of all seasons but it felt like it. I think this is the right feeling.

“We finished third in the Constructors’ Championship. We were very close to Ferrari, we won a race, we had 10 plus podiums, whatever happens at the beginning of next season, it’s going to be another building block for the success of this team.”

Despite that claim, Wolff has pointed out that there are several positives. He explained that a camaraderie remained despite the poor performances. 

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“What I’ve seen this year in both factories is when things weren’t going well, nobody turned on each other,” he continued. “Nobody was pointing fingers. Everyone was just going ‘how do we get more performance in our part of the jigsaw? How do we get the car moving forward?’

“I also saw something which I think will help us an awful lot going forward, which is that in both factories, we trusted the process. We said we’ve got a process, we know how to develop a car, okay, we’ve learned something new so we need to adjust that process and we need to do something a bit differently.

“But inherently it’s the right way of doing things. And I think that is something that’s very powerful then from when when we did have the victory in Brazil, that we can look back at that and go, ‘okay, that process, that general way of doing things, is the right way.’”

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