From Champions to Challengers: Three Shocking Challenges Mercedes Faces to Regain Their F1 Dominance
Toto Wolff thinks Mercedes' new direction will lead them back to the top, but can they overcome their three key challenges?
Mercedes, which dominated F1 between 2014 and 2020, faces three main challenges to become a title contender again.
1. Dealing With Extreme Pressure
They must deal with the increasing pressure of being the hunted rather than the hunter. During their dominant years, their rivals were far behind, and they rarely had to look in their rearview mirrors. However, they are now under significant pressure, and small mistakes are magnified. They need to prevent their team from spiraling, and that's where Toto Wolff's leadership qualities come in.
2. Keeping Hold of Hamilton
They must keep hold of Hamilton, who is frustrated by the team's consistent underperformance. Hamilton has been consistently critical of Mercedes throughout testing and the opening two races, and this is likely the result of the team's underperformance at a time when he knows that time is running out to get the record eighth world title that he so craves. Mercedes needs to give him hope and prove they know what they are doing and where they are going.
3. Making the Right Calls
They must make the right calls. Time waits for no one, and in F1, one bad decision can be the difference between winning and losing. The team needs to make the right calls, from the drivers' strategies to the car's development. Last year, the team got their 2022 car, built to sweep new regulations, wrong. They must make the right calls to avoid repeating the same mistakes.
How Confident is Toto Wolff
Toto Wolff admits that the Mercedes team is facing significant challenges to catch up to Red Bull, given the limited testing, restricted aerodynamic testing, and spending cap. He also acknowledges that it is unrealistic to bridge the gap with Red Bull in the season completely. However, he remains optimistic and believes the team can progress by fundamentally understanding where to put the car and taking large steps to improve it. He trusts the technical team and design office, led by Mike Elliott, to find the right pathway that produces a car within the budget cap and with lots of development potential.
"We’ve got to get our act together. If we fundamentally understand where we need to put the car, the steps are going to be large but we need to be perfect." Toto Wolff
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