Wolff: W15 problems a fundamental thing

Wolff: W15 problems a fundamental thing

Wolff: W15 problems a fundamental thing

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff revealed the W15’s lack of pace in the 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was a fundamental thing that setup changed could not fix.

Mercedes struggled in Jeddah last week, George Russell and Lewis Hamilton qualifying seventh and eighth respectively, with Russell racing to sixth, Hamilton to ninth.

The atmosphere within the eight-time Formula 1 Constructors’ Champions was quite gloomy as they seemed to struggle to understand their new for 2024 car, have gone down a totally different design path.

Hamilton could be heard over the team radio repetitively complaining about his car’s weakness in the high speed parts of he track as he could not close down on Lando Norris in the McLaren, both drivers on similar tyre strategies. In the end the McLaren finished ahead of the Mercedes.

Reflecting on his team’s struggles in Jeddah, Wolff said, quoted by Motorsport.com: “There is something which we don’t understand. We are quick everywhere else pretty much.

“We know that we have a smaller rear wing, we’re compensating what we’re losing through the corners. But it’s just at high speed where we’re losing all the lap time,” he explained.

Wolff went on to deliver a worrying verdict on the W15’s weaknesses insisting they go beyond setup errors, saying: “I think that’s a biggie. There’s only so much you can tune here.

“Our simulations point us in a direction and this is the kind of set-up range that we then choose, where you put the right rear wing on.

“I think you’ll gain a few tenths or not if you get the set-up right or wrong, but there’s not a massive corridor of performance.

Downforce not translating into lap time

“It’s more a fundamental thing, that we believe that the speed should be there. We measure the downforce but we don’t find it in lap time,” he pointed out.

In the third year of the current set of regulations, Mercedes are still struggling to find the solutions to their car performance troubles.

“It’s been two years that there is something we need to spot, and that’s the thing to unlock,” Wolff continued. “We have just got to work.

“It’s not through lack of trying. We’ve pushed so hard and we’re going to give it a massive, massive go now in the next week, with more data to understand.

“We are going to come back to Melbourne strong. We are on a mission on this one. And I am 100% sure that we are going to unlock that performance gap,” the Austrian concluded.

If Mercedes continue with this trend throughout 2024, Hamilton would be having no regrets following his decision to switch to Ferrari in 2025.