Toto Wolff is on the F1 Beyond The Grid podcast speaking about the 2022 season, Mercedes drivers, Mattia Binotto, Mick Schumacher and more.
The guest on the Beyond the Grid F1 Podcast this week was Mercedes chief Wolff, who began talking about the last 12 months being a tough one because of being behind in the order and how they coped with the situation where they also had some good races.
He says you can fail to prosper in all sport but it was tough still. He advised that when you lose, you learn the most and it has taught them a lesson on how to manage your own expectations. One of the key troubles for them was porpoising which he hopes will be better by next season after overcoming a lot of it in 2022.
Talking about the W13, Wolff said he was proud of the narrow side-pod concept, the power unit and its reliability when both Red Bull and Ferrari along with Alpine had their share of troubles. He states that patience was and is the key and has complete faith in Mercedes but admits they got porpoising wrong where other teams got it right.
He says he is a “glass half empty” guy when looking at the 2022 season but has 100% belief in the team and hopes to be back in the winning ways in 2023. He notes that he always has been wary of the feeling of losing and that winning only lasts overnight. He agrees that they got used to finishing in third and fourth during the campaign.
Wolff was happy with good reliability but the bottom line was that they were not winning. He says third in the constructors feels like a failure and that he always likes to meet his own expectations. Looking back on time, the race that stands out for him is Austria 2014 where Mercedes were 1-2 and Williams 3-4 and that he still felt a connection to Williams.
In terms of people, he still misses Niki Lauda greatly in every aspect as he speaks incredibly highly of him and everything he did for Mercedes. He talks about Pep Guardiola and says he realises they share the same approach to their sports which brought him back again to talk about Lauda and the unveiling of “Lauda Drive”. He did say the Austrian would have criticised it and questioned why they were not working.
Talking about 2022 F1 season, he talks both about George Russell and Lewis Hamilton but added more on the latter especially after the 2021 he had. Wolff acknowledges that he simply didn’t give him the car but the driver handled the situation admirably where he says that the Brit does feel as a very senior figure in the team. Also, he has no issues with him not winning in 2022.
Regarding 2021, Wolff says he has moved on from the Abu Dhabi weekend where he added about Valtteri Bottas as well who did a solid job in his time with Mercedes, even though he notes Hamilton had the upperhand. Talking about his replacement Russell, he didn’t have regrets of missing his first F1 win but was proud that they did it without him in Brazil.
More on 2022 season, Wolff was not too concerned about catching Ferrari for second and agrees that Mattia Binotto was always under tremendous pressure and perhaps stayed longer than he thought he would have. He believes that all involved in F1 are specialists and it is a niche specialist environment but being a one trick pony is no use where the Italian was more of a technical guru than management one.
Seeing how their relationship was in the last few years, Wolff doesn’t think Binotto will find a place at Mercedes. Regarding Daniel Ricciardo, the Austrian noted about talking with him for being a third driver but it were never as serious. The issues at McLaren were difficult to understand for the Austrian though.
It took him to talk about Mick Schumacher and says due to his name he is always under pressure to deliver. Since he lost his Haas drive, there is a chance of having him as a reserve at Mercedes but nothing is done yet. Talking about the new rules, he feels it has been positive and reckons the racing is better and sees more teams fighting for podiums.
He is hopeful of a better show for Mercedes in 2023 and Wolff is very confident that Hamilton will prolong his stay in F1 since he has that hunger and how driven he is at the moment after a difficult 2022.
Here’s the F1 Beyond the Grid podcast:https://audioboom.com/posts/8209134-toto-wolff-falling-behind-fighting-back
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