Toto Wolff on keeping drivers motivated after title fight is over

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff gives his comments on the drop in form experienced by Valtteri Bottas after his title hopes have ended.

Wolff acknowledges it is normal for drivers to lose a bit of motivation after the title fight is over, but says the team “mustn’t swing between exuberance and depression” when judging their drivers’ change in form.

“What we need to look at, and what we need to work out collaboratively, is that for drivers, it’s all about winning the world championship,” the Austrian told Motorsport.com.

“And when that has been decided, we need to find out how to keep the energy levels high. But the margin between winning and losing, between hero and zero, is so small in this sport.

“If he [Valtteri Bottas] would have led the way in Bahrain 2 [the Sakhir Grand Prix] and won the race, nobody would have criticized Valtteri. And that was down to a good or less good start. He was also catching up [to team-mate George Russell] in the race before our unfortunate pitstop incident.

“So we mustn’t swing between exuberance and depression in terms of our judgement on drivers, but kind of see the average and help the drivers to have confidence, to develop their abilities and achieve sustainable performances.


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Wolff went on to say Bottas’ performance troubles were often down to bad luck and not a reflection on his abilities.

“Valtteri has had highs, but more downs this year than he deserved, and the downs were not due to a lack of performance, the downs were simply unlucky.

“How many times has he been in the lead of a race that he would have probably won before a red flag was thrown? Or before he suffered from a tyre puncture? Multiple occasions.

“I think he could have had a handful more victories. And the championship could have stayed more open much, much longer.

“He performs on a very high level, there’s no reason to question him if he has those fantastic weekends with top performances,” concluded Wolff.

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