Toto Wolff: “The W13 was my biggest mistake in recent years”

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Toto Wolff says Mercedes “took the wrong approach to building the car for the 2022 season”, and “confirming this concept in 2023 was the second big mistake”.

After eight years of dominance, in 2022 Mercedes was not able to adapt to new Formula 1 regulations as well as some other teams (mainly Red Bull and Ferrari), which led to them not being able to fight for race wins and championships.

Unfortunately, for 2023 the team decided to stick with the same ‘car concept’, encouraged by their incredible 1-2 victory at the 2022 Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

Ultimately, after the first race of the 2023 season, team boss Toto Wolff publicly admitted they had made a mistake, and announced the team will go in a different direction with their car.

Now, Wolff admits his decisions on Mercedes’ 2022 and 2023 cars were his ‘biggest mistakes in recent years’.

The W13 was my biggest mistake in recent years,” the Austrian told BILD.

“We took the wrong approach to building the car for the 2022 season, it wasn’t the correct path.

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“Confirming this concept in 2023 was the second big mistake, but I defend this decision, given that we had won in Brazil.

“Every team would have considered that weekend as a starting point for the new season. More than half of the team was convinced that the situation was improving.”

Toto also said his frustration has sometimes led to him publicly criticising the team.

“Criticizing the team in front of the media is part of a balancing act that I haven’t always managed to master perfectly.

“Many employees are motivated when they see an ambitious boss, but sometimes I cross the line. I have to take chamomile tea before interviews to calm down.

“If I have been too harsh, on Monday I go back to the factory and apologise. This is also part of good leadership,” Wolff concluded.

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