Wolff: Smooth seas do not make good sailors

1-toto wolff Mercedes f1 boss before miami

With his once invincible Formula 1 team out at sea (apparently lost) Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has dipped into a Franklin D. Roosevelt quote ahead of this weekend’s Miami Grand Prix for some inspiration for his troops.

“The saying ‘smooth seas do not make good sailors’ comes to mind,” declared Wolff, in the Mercedes preview of the first of two Grands Prix in the USA this year, conceding that times are challenging for the once serial winners, with hard lessons being learnt.

He continued: “This team has shown its resilience over many years and the difficult start to this season has lit a fire within every team member, determined to put it right,”

Of course, Wolff is speaking of the astonishing decline of the mighty World Champions this year, with an awful piece of kit in the Mercedes W13 their top-notch drivers, one a seven-time F1 World Champion in Lewis Hamilton and the other one of the most highly-rated youngsters on the grid, namely George Russell.

But, as Wolff surely knows, you can’t win gunfights with a knife, hence no surprise he reported that at Brackley HQ they have been busy with updates to turn the blunt knife the W13 has turned out to be into a weapon worthy of a gun-fight.

Wolff looked back on a dire Emilia Romagna Grand Prix weekend for Hamilton, in which he was thoroughly outperformed by Russell: “It was a very difficult weekend for us in Imola. George did a great job finishing P4 from an unpromising starting position. but with Lewis, we didn’t give him the tools or track position to show his true pace.”

In fact, the “tools” Mercedes have given their drivers this year is probably the worst car that Hamilton has ever had to race in F1.

Toto: We have found several directions for improving the car

1-russell hamilton will be okay says wolff f1 mercedes-001

The Mercedes team boss carried on: “Since we returned from Italy, we’ve learned as much from the weekend as we can and, in parallel, our learning has continued in the wind tunnel and simulations.

“We have found several directions for improving the car, and we will be conducting experiments in Miami to correlate those simulations, and hopefully confirm the development path for the coming races. Both drivers have been working in the simulator ahead of Miami and the factories have been busy producing updates for the next races.”

Looking ahead to the unknown, namely the first Grand Prix in Miami’s street circuit, Wolff said: “It’s an exciting new challenge and a complete step into the unknown.

“The track looks demanding, with a real mix of low and high-speed corners, and it’s set to be a spectacular showcase for the sport to our growing US fanbase. So, we’re set for a fantastic event, and we can’t wait to see how it all plays out,” concluded Wolff.

The only way for “smooth seas” to happen in F1 is to have a ‘boat’ capable of winning or at least fighting for podiums weekend-in and weekend-out, the W13 is not that kind of weapon as it appears destined to F1 midfield mediocrity despite the pedigreed stock of its illustrious lineage.

Notably, Hamilton has always scored at least one Grand Prix victory every year since he joined the F1 grid back in 2007, this year he is set to lose that incredible record unless, of course, Mercedes “sailors” can find a ‘magic switch’ to transform their car and season.