Toto Wolff Supported Despite Doubts About Mercedes

In Mercedes’ current challenges, some in the media are questioning Toto Wolff’s leadership abilities. However, Hans-Joachim Stuck has expressed his support for the Austrian, believing he can guide Mercedes back to success.

Despite losing the Driver title to Max Verstappen in 2021, Mercedes has struggled to adapt to Formula 1’s new ground-effect aerodynamic regulations.

Transitioning from a car with ample downforce to one that lacks it, Mercedes endured difficult seasons in 2022 and 2023 due to handling issues.

This led the team to overhaul their design approach, discarding previous ideas in favor of a more conventional strategy. However, this adjustment has yet to yield positive results.

With their best finish this season being fifth place, Mercedes currently occupies fourth position in the Constructors’ Championship. They trail McLaren, their customer team, by 19 points and hold a slim one-point lead over Aston Martin.

Stuck, a seasoned competitor with 73 Grand Prix starts to his name, believes Mercedes has shown no signs of improvement this season.

He remarked, “They are at the same point as in previous years and ultimately are simply not capable of winning.” Stuck asserts that “Mercedes is simply not at the level of Red Bull and Ferrari.

“And you also have to talk about Toto Wolff. It is probably an advantage for him that he is a co-owner. If it were a pure Mercedes team, I’m not sure if he wouldn’t have been replaced already – to put it bluntly, because he’s not responsible for it.

“In the current season with all the travel stress, the question now arises as to how Mercedes plans to catch up. The start, as always, was a position assessment. As we know, not much changes after that. Mercedes therefore has a big problem.”

In Melbourne, journalists raised questions about Wolff’s ability to lead Mercedes out of their current slump.

In response, Wolff stated: “We have a physics problem, not a philosophical or organizational problem. We haven’t swallowed a dumb pill since 2021. It’s just we don’t understand some of the behaviors of the car, that in the past we would have always understood.

“I look at myself in the mirror every single day about everything I do, and if I believe that I should ask the manager question or the trainer question, I think it’s a fair question, but it’s not what I feel at the moment that I should do.”

Stuck argues that while Wolff isn’t directly accountable for designing the car, his role entails assembling the right team capable of creating a winning race machine.

Instead of questioning whether Wolff himself is suitable for the task, the focus should be on whether he has assembled the appropriate personnel at Mercedes.

“Toto Wolff himself is not responsible for the car’s potential,” Stuck examined.

“He used to be a racing driver himself and knows what is important in this business. His job is to find the necessary levers and adjustment screws and to use the right people in development. Of course, he will put pressure on the developers.

“But he also has to ask himself whether the right people are at the helm there. That is the job of the team boss and for me, Wolff is one of the best.”

When asked if there is hope for improvement in the future, the 73-year-old remarked, “That is, of course, the question. Toto is the man – and he has to sort this out. As I said, this will be very difficult this season.”