Toto Wolff says staff changes are not behind Mercedes’ problems

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Toto Wolff doesn’t think Mercedes’ current struggles have anything to do with recent key personnel changes within the team.

In recent years Mercedes had several of its key personnel either leave the team or move to a different position.

The team’s long-time engine chief Andy Cowell has retired from Formula 1, while technical director James Allison moved to the position of Chief Technical Officer.

In addition, Red Bull plucked several of Mercedes’ key staff for their newly founded engine factory – Red Bull Powertrains.

However, team boss Toto Wolff doesn’t think Mercedes’ current struggles have anything to do with this.

“It’s just the normal cycle,” Wolff said.

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“Ross [Brawn, former team boss] left, then Paddy [Lowe, former executive director technical] left.

“We won six championships after that, or seven. Then James Allison came in, and there’s a lot of others who aren’t front and centre. Then Andy [Cowell] retired.

“But meanwhile, all the young guys are coming up, and they’ve been the decision-makers at the operational level time and time again, as far as the cars in the last few years are concerned.

“We haven’t lost anyone where I think to myself today: ‘That was really, really counterproductive!’ It’s just the normal rate of change.

“When I walk around our campus, the thing that pleases me the most is that most people are very young and highly educated, motivated – and don’t want to leave things the way they are today.

“That puts me in a positive frame of mind. I couldn’t imagine anyone better in the team than the squad I have around me. And I’m not just saying that lightly: it’s what I really believe.”

As for Mercedes’ title chances in 2022, Wolff is not yet ready to give up the fight.

“I don’t want to say goodbye to the thought. What I love about this sport is that not everything always follows the maths.

“The races can be completely different. You see how fast it goes between being first/second on the track, and being eliminated in the next race.

“In this respect, the gap we’re now opening up is certainly difficult to make up, but if we manage to put this car reasonably straight on the track, then we’ll be among the front runners with this car.

“As grim as that may look today,” the Austrian concluded.

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