Toto Wolff confessed the last few weeks have been the toughest he has faced as Mercedes team principal after poor performances in Monaco and Baku.
The last two races saw Mercedes fail to finish on the podium for two consecutive race weekends for the first time since the end of the 2013 season, such has been its dominance under the V6 turbo regulations. Given the performance struggles in the last two races, Wolff admits it’s his most difficult spell in charge after seeing podiums slip away on two occasions and Red Bull extend its lead in the constructors’ championship.
“Yes, they are the toughest,” Wolff said. “Not having performance in Monaco, then Valtteri (Bottas), who would have made it solidly onto the podium, needing a pit stop of 36 hours is not really a great achievement for the standards we are setting ourselves from a car that was almost all sessions nowhere.
“To be honest, cruising in third was OK but it’s just not acceptable that we are not getting the car into a performance position for the start or at the pit stops. We are losing seconds over seconds to get the car in a happy window where it functions. It just takes too long.”
Although Wolff expects a better performance level in France as he felt the street circuits would be Mercedes’ weakest tracks, he says the team itself isn’t delivering to its usual high standards.
“I think there are lots of things that are not running as smoothly as in the past few years,” he said. “Operationally, it’s not our A-game. We haven’t found the sweet spot of the car through qualifying and the race, having a quick qualifying and race car.
“There’s just so much that we need to improve that I just want to get on it right now in order to make sure that we are actually able to compete for this championship, because we can’t continue losing points like we have done in Monaco and (Baku). It’s just not acceptable for all of us.”