Mercedes: Toto Wolff says pressure grows EVERY YEAR
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Toto Wolff believes there is a key difference between Mercedes and Red Bull, and named the one thing he thinks sets the Silver Arrows apart. The two teams were a long way ahead of everyone else in the 2021 season in terms of results and performance, and will hope to be challenging for the titles again in the coming campaign.
Mercedes, who have dominated the hybrid era, picked up their eighth straight constructors’ title after seeing off a late challenge from their rivals.
But Red Bull had the last laugh in the drivers’ championship, as Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton on the final day in controversial circumstances.
Wolff believes his engineers understood their car better in the latter stages of the season, and that is what helped them to get over the line.
And while he admits he cannot speak to what Red Bull’s internal structure looks like, he believes there is something else that gives his team the edge.
“It’s hard for me to judge how Red Bull is set up internally,” he told Auto Motor und Sport.
“Our strength is our attitude and the values we always adhere to.
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“Maybe we can solve problems faster and better because we always approach it with the approach: What did we do wrong?”
This approach, he believes, is what helped them to start getting better results towards the end of the year, when things clicked in Brazil.
In the end it was “not a success story” as Hamilton lost out on the title through circumstances beyond his own control, but Wolff could still see something to be proud of in their late-season development.
“The positive thing about that was the performance, how we managed to come back,” the Austrian said.
“After the disqualification in Brazil, I would have said that the drivers’ championship was lost. Nevertheless, we started with the same points in Abu Dhabi.”
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It looked as though Hamilton would win that race, but then a late safety car was fast-tracked so racing could resume, giving Verstappen what Mercedes felt was an unfair advantage.
The Dutchman overtook to win the championship, leaving the team furious and Hamilton considering his future in the sport.
Wolff has said before that he and his star racer are “disillusioned” after how the title was lost, and he repeated the sentiment again.
“[The disappointment] is very deep. Lewis, I and the whole team are disillusioned,” he added.
“We love this sport because it’s honest. The stopwatch never lies. But if we break the fundamental principle of fairness and the stopwatch is no longer relevant, then you doubt this sport.
“That all your work, blood, sweat and tears can be taken away from you… It’s going to take a long time to digest.
“I don’t think we’ll ever get over that, especially Lewis as a driver. At least we can try together with the FIA to do better in the future.”
Asked what lessons he would like to be learned from what happened, he answered: “I expect actions and not just words. In a sport that’s supposed to be a sport, we can’t freestyle like that with the set of rules.
“Before the start of the new season, there must be clarity about the rules so that every driver, team and fan knows what is allowed and what is not.
“In the end we provide entertainment, but no decision should break the rules for the sake of the show.”
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