Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admits their dismal start to the 2022 season could well go on in Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix because they don’t have a ‘magic fix’.
It has been a poor start to the campaign for Mercedes, who have reigned supreme in Formula 1 since 2014 and had hopes of winning a ninth straight championship this year.
Instead, following a host of regulation and rule changes to bring in a new era of F1 cars, the Brackley-based outfit are floundering behind frontrunners Ferrari and Red Bull early on, with Lewis Hamiltonand George Russell way off the pace after the opening races.
Hamilton and Russell finished third and fourth respectively at the Bahrain Grand Prix, while the latter came fifth a week later in Jeddah.
As for Hamilton, he finished down in 10th after a miserable Saudi Arabia outing and now finds himself fifth in the overall standings, almost 30 points behind leader Charles Leclerc.
Russell is one place above his Mercedes team-mate on 22 points, sitting behind Carlos Sainz Jr and Max Verstappen, and Wolff insists their sights are set on bridging the gap and moving closer to the top of the standings.
‘We are in a learning race and the first two weekends have shown we still have plenty to learn,’ he told Mercedes’ official website.
‘At the moment, our track performance is not meeting our own expectations, but everyone at Brackley and Brixworth is focused on understanding the problems and finding the right solutions.
‘There won’t be a magic fix for the next race weekend, but we’re pushing to steadily bring gains over the upcoming races, to hopefully move us closer to the front of the pack.
‘Until then, we need to maximise each opportunity and make the most of the package we have.
‘So, there are various challenges ahead of us, but that’s something we relish and is when a team really shows its true spirit.
‘Lewis and George are making an important contribution to the overall effort, providing feedback, spending time in the simulator and working together to help push us forward.
‘Now we head back to Melbourne for the first time since 2020 and will be racing in Australia for the first time in three years – that’s too long for a city and country that are so passionate about F1.
‘We’re looking forward to seeing the fans and the new track layout which promises more overtaking opportunities and faster lap times.’