Toto Wolff says Ferrari and Red Bull “dropped the ball” in 2019

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says Ferrari and Red Bull failed to take advantage of the drop in form Mercedes had after the summer break.

After a spectacular start to the 2019 season with 8 consecutive race wins, Mercedes struggled a bit following the summer break, while Red Bull and especially Ferrari dramatically improved their performance. However Mercedes managed to get the upper hand again and win five of the last six races.

“The overwhelming thing in the season was obviously Niki [Lauda] passing, and that was kind of a shadow on the season,” said Wolff after the final race of the season.

“But from a performance standpoint, I would put it into three parts. The first one, we really did well at the beginning, we were really competitive. Then after the summer, not.

“Then we kind of recovered and didn’t drop the ball, and our competition did, and this was what made us win the championship.”

Since the rules in 2020 will remain stable and considering how Ferrari and Red Bull seem to have significantly reduced the gap to Mercedes, Wolff was asked if he thought the two teams would be an even bigger threat next year.

“Definitely. You can see how fast [Red Bull] are now and how much Honda has improved beyond the level [they were at]. And Ferrari.”

Interestingly, 2019 marked the first time Wolff missed a race since 2013. The Austrian was absent from the Brazilian Grand Prix and it turned into a catastrophic weekend for the team. Valtteri Bottas retired from the race, while Lewis Hamilton received a penalty and finished seventh. Wolff reveals he didn’t communicate with the team at all during the weekend.

“You know, I actually didn’t have the urge [to contact them].

“I have so much trust in the guys and confidence that at no point I felt the need to call or say something.”


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