Toto Wolff says Mercedes lost some members of their team due to “being at the end of their health” while trying to catch up to Ferrari’s engine.
Ferrari had a significant increase in performance during the summer of 2019 and claimed five consecutive pole positions and three successive wins.
However the legality of their engine was soon questioned and since the FIA issued a technical directive that regulated fuel flow, Ferrari’s edge seemed to quickly disappear.
Several other F1 teams went on to protest the legality of Ferrari’s engine, but the issue was ‘swept under the rug’ when the FIA announced it has reached a “private settlement” with the Italian team.
Ferrari’s further decline in performance in 2020 prompted Red Bull team boss Christian Horner to again reiterate his dissatisfaction with the way things were handled by the FIA.
“I think the whole thing has left quite a sour taste,” Horner said.
“Obviously, you can draw your own conclusions from Ferrari’s current performance. But there’s races that we should have won last year, arguably, if had they run with an engine that seems to be quite different to all the performance they had last year.”
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Asked about Horner’s comments, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff agreed the issue caused much more damage than it might seem on the surface.
“Ferrari is an iconic brand and [it has] fantastic people that build these cars,” said Wolff.
“It’s difficult to say because I don’t want to put any more oil into this. But we were really stretched so much last year and the year before that we suffered.
“We lost some people in terms of being at the end of their health. This is why I would probably follow Christian’s comment.”