Toto Wolff suspects Mercedes has a “mechanical issue” in Brazil

© Jiri Krenek for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff says he “wouldn’t be surprised if we analyse the cars in the next few days and we found out there was a mechanical issue”.

Mercedes had a hard time at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton finishing in P8 and George Russell suffering a DNF.

After the race, team boss Toto Wolff said the team tends to encounter more problems during sprint weekends.

“I think Sprint weekends have generally not been our strength,” the Austrian said.

“We are working ourselves out of problems on most weekends. Swings are on, but not on from being almost quickest to being eighth. For me personally, the worst weekend in 13 years.”

After the last sprint weekend in the United States, Lewis Hamilton was disqualified from the main race because excessive floor plank wear was found on his car.

Toto confirms that because of this Mercedes decided to lift the car’s ride height to avoid a similar situation.

Additionally, the team decided to use a higher-downforce rear wing angle to compensate, but Toto says this was not the main thing that limited their performance.

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“Yeah, we ran the car way too high. And it’s something that you probably carry that on, like you say.

“But that wasn’t the main reason for an absolute off weekend in terms of performance. There was something very fundamentally wrong, mechanically.

“It’s not a rear wing, and it’s not the car being slightly too high because we’re talking a millimetre or two. That’s performance but it’s not the explanation for a total off.”

Toto went a step further and said he suspects their cars had a mechanical issue.

“We didn’t know fundamentally where we would have changed it. There’s a much bigger issue.

“We thought about that [a pitlane start]. But when thinking about maximising points it was probably right to start like this.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we analyse the cars in the next few days and we found out there was a mechanical issue, the way we set them up or I don’t know what it could have been,” Wolff concluded.

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