Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff on driver safety: “It’s absolutely right that we have political fights over performance gains, but I think some of them are taking things too lightly. lightness with regard to the health of drivers”
Last update: 06/19/22 00:30
Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff gives an honest interview to Martin Brundle about driver safety, Mercedes issues and Lewis Hamilton’s mindset.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff insists driver safety is being taken “too lightly” amid problems caused by porpoising in Formula 1 cars.
Earlier this week the FIA announced new measures to try to tackle ‘porpoising’ amid concerns over the safety of Formula 1 drivers, and it continued to be a major talking point in Montreal ahead of the Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix.
Harsh car bouncing has been an unexpected issue following the introduction of F1’s all-new design regulations for 2022, with Mercedes being one of the teams most affected.
Lewis Hamilton has complained about the problem throughout the season, but with Baku’s bumpy street circuit during last weekend’s Azerbaijan GP exacerbating the problem and leaving the seven-time world champion in severe pain after the race, F1’s governing body has taken action.
Despite the changes, Wolff admitted he was distraught after what was described as a ‘feisty’ meeting over team principles on Saturday morning, when the Mercedes boss spoke to other team bosses about the bouncing and porpoising issues affecting drivers on the grid.
Ted Kravitz takes a closer look at the presumption issues Mercedes have been grappling with all season.
He said Sky Sports F1: “Yes, sometimes you get angry… I think what we saw in Baku and here is that all the drivers of all the teams, including the first, said that they suffered from bounce or dip. Perez said he had blurry vision.
“It’s only fair that we have political fights over performance gains, but I think some of them are taking things too lightly when looking at driver health.”
When asked if he thought it was too dangerous to drive these cars, he added: “I think in Baku it was definitely too dangerous to drive these cars. Everyone suffered and you could see that the dip in the straight was quite dangerous.” We saw it yesterday also here.”
Formula 1 live
June 19, 2022, 5:30 p.m.
Wolff admits Mercedes mistakes
Mercedes’ struggles have been well documented so far this season.
They have only managed four third-place finishes this season – one for Hamilton and three for George Russell – while rivals Red Bull and Ferrari have won every race between them.
They currently sit third in the constructors’ standings, 118 points behind leaders Red Bull, and Wolff admitted in an interview with Sky Sports F1 Martin Brundle that mistakes have been made by his team, but he insists they know which direction they need to go to improve their performance.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff on the colorful language he used to describe the car:
“I think I was just saying what we all think.
“Everyone in the team knows that collectively we haven’t done a good enough job. I’m trying to support the driver because you’re driving a car that’s dangerous and not going fast.
“I wanted to make sure we know it’s not the driver’s ability or disability, we’re not doing our job right now. It is.”
“I think we understood, probably wrong, in terms of what we expected in terms of mechanical grip and downforce that our car is just too low for what you can realistically do,” he said. -he declares.
“It’s a direction we have to change, we are doing it but it’s very slow.
“I’m with you, isn’t this what we expected of ourselves or where we should be?”
On the improvements he added: “I think we know pretty well where we need to go. You can see in all the other cars we drive flat on the ground, the others have more rake. So we have to develop in a different way and that’s what happens.”
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff on whether he agrees with Lewis Hamilton’s suggestion that Mercedes should make the most of a bad job:
“On track, you just need to fine-tune and configure the product, but the product is factory-made.
“Therefore, whatever we do here, we just go around in circles… we go up, down. Very difficult for drivers.
“Here on the track, on the pitch, we just have to do our best.”
“Abu Dhabi disappointment does not affect Hamilton’s performance”
In addition to the team’s struggles, Hamilton’s problems this season have also been well documented.
The seven-time world champion missed out on an eighth title in the final round of last season to Max Verstappen and after that disappointment he has only finished on the podium once this season.
And since his third-place finish in Bahrain, he has also finished behind Mercedes team-mate George Russell in every race since.
He drives with a lot of maturity. Quick. What I admire is that I listen to the debrief and whether it’s P3 or P12, he always uses the same tone of voice and logic with a clear objective to optimize his performance.
Toto Wolff on George Russell’s performance
However, despite his poor results so far this season, Wolff believes the last lap disappointment is not affecting Hamilton on the track this season.
“I think Abu Dhabi certainly hurts a lot,” Wolff said. “I can understand. I know how I feel about myself, but I haven’t been in a car and lost a record eighth world championship.
“But I don’t think it affects his performance in the car. I think it’s probably something that’s in the back of your mind sometimes when you’re alone and you turn off the light, it annoys you. “
Coverage of the Canadian GP begins at 5.30pm BST on Sunday evening with lights out at 7pm.
Sky Sports F1The full Sunday program…
Sunday June 19
5:30 p.m.: Grand Prix Sunday: Canada
7 p.m.: THE CANADIAN GRAND PRIX
9 p.m.: The checkered flag: Canada
10 p.m.: Ted’s Notebook: Canada
11 p.m.: Highlights of the Canadian Grand Prix