Wolff: Lying if I could say I feel positive

Wolff: Lying if I could say I feel positive

Wolff: Lying if I could say I feel positive

Toto Wolff could not sugarcoat Mercedes’ result in the 2024 Australian Grand Prix, after Lewis Hamilton retired with engine trouble, George Russell crashing out.

With Lewis Hamilton retiring early and George Russell crashing out late, Mercedes suffered their first double ‘Did Not Finish’ at a Formula 1 race in over five years at the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday, piling on yet more early season gloom.

Seven-time F1 World Champion Hamilton lasted 15 laps at Albert Park before rolling to halt with a power unit failure, while Russell took a skid into gravel at turn six before smashing into a barrier at the end of the race.

It was the first double DNF for Mercedes since Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas retired with technical troubles at the 2018 Austrian Grand Prix.

With zero points taken in a race won by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, Mercedes have now slumped to fifth in the F1 Constructors’ Championship behind leaders Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren and Aston Martin.

“Tough to take, super tough,” downcast team boss Toto Wolff told reporters. “And I would be lying if I could say I feel positive about the situation and optimistic but you just need to overcome the nagging, negative thoughts and say, ‘we will turn this around’.

“But today it feels very, very brutal,” the 52-year-old Austrian admitted.

Hamilton, who won six of his F1 World Titles with Mercedes, will join Ferrari in 2025 and may be counting down the days until his exit. With only eight points from the first three races, the Briton has never had a worse start to an F1 season.

Mercedes going through the motions

Hamilton’s setback on Sunday came a day after qualifying 11th, his worst at Albert Park since 2010. He did his best to put on a brave face, saying things could be worse, but admitted the struggles of Mercedes’ W15 car were tough on the spirit.

“I think for everyone in the team, when so much work is going on throughout the winter for everybody, you come in excited, motivated and driven, and then you´re with the mindset that you´re going to be fighting for wins,” he added.

“And then obviously that´s not the case. And then you´re like, ‘OK, maybe second, third’. No, it´s not the case, and it cascades a bit further down. And you just go through the motions. It´s challenging.”

The Mercedes cars ran hot and cold through the weekend, with handling problems, bouncing and trouble at high-speed corners.

Wolff said the performance problems were still mystifying for the team commenting: “We’ve got to really dig deep.”

In Mercedes’ post race media brief Wolff added: “Nobody feels positive about where we find ourselves right now, but we are focused on turning this around. It is tough to take but we will remain calm and composed.

“We have seen others who have shown that when you get it right, things can turn around quickly. That is what we are aiming to do,” he concluded. (Reporting by Ian Ransom, Additional reporting by GrandPrix247)