The brain drain from Mercedes is not behind the fall in F1, Wolff says

The German carmaker is suffering its toughest season in the era of the F1 turbo hybrid, with porpoise problems that prevent it from running the W13 in the configuration it was designed for.

Early difficulties have already left the team at the back of the league and she knows she needs a quick turnaround if she wants to have any chance of fighting Ferrari and Red Bull this year.

In light of the team’s evolving staff structure, which in recent years has included the departure of engine chief Andy Cowell and his technical director James Allison to take on new roles, suggestions have emerged that his decline in form could be linked to losing key brains.

But Wolff does not support such an attitude and believes that any cadre is changing that Mercedes has experienced are part of the standard change that all teams go through.

“It’s just a normal cycle,” he said. “Ross [Brawn] left, then Paddy [Lowe] left. We won six championships after that, or seven. Then came James Allison, and there are a lot of others who are not in front and in the middle. Then Andy [Cowell] retired.

“But in the meantime, all the young guys are coming, who have always made decisions at the operational level, as far as cars are concerned in the last few years.

“We didn’t lose anyone where we think today: ‘It was really, really counterproductive!’ It’s just a normal rate of change. “

Toto Wolff, Team Director and CEO, Mercedes AMG

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Pictures of motorsport

While Mercedes may not have some of its former experienced leaders, Wolff thinks the injection of youth can be achieved with the immense positivity that is now evident in the team.

“When I walk around our campus, what makes me happiest is that most people are very young and highly educated, motivated – and don’t want to leave things as they are today,” he added.

“It simply came to my notice then. I couldn’t have imagined a better team than the team I have around me. And I’m not saying it lightly: that’s what I really believe in. “

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While Mercedes ’hopes for the title look small, with a pretty big gap in performance between his car and the front players, Wolff isn’t ready to throw himself into the titles yet.

“I don’t want to say goodbye to that thought,” he said. “What I love about this sport is that not everything goes according to mathematics.

“Races can be completely different. See how fast you pass between being first / second on the track and being eliminated in the next race.

“In that respect, the gap we’re opening now is certainly hard to close, but if we manage to put this car reasonably straight on the track, then we’ll be among the first with this car: as gloomy as it might look today.”

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