Wolff not envious of McLaren despite its Mercedes-powered success

Toto Wolff insists he is not envious of McLaren for being able to challenge for victories with a Mercedes power unit while the works team still struggles to fight at the front.

Mercedes has won just one race since the introduction of new regulations at the start of 2022, with George Russell’s success at Brazil in that first season its sole victory. Despite finishing second in the constructors’ championship last year, Mercedes has been clearly overtaken by its customer McLaren, with Lando Norris winning in Miami and just 0.7s behind Max Verstappen in Imola, but Wolff sees it as a positive for his team to focus on.

“First of all why I love this sport is the stopwatch never lies and they have done a good job,” Wolff said. “And we have to have respect from how they have done things, and more competition at the front is good at the sport and good for everyone.


“I’m not looking at that with envy, quite contrary, I’m looking at that and saying this is what we need to achieve, because they’ve been able to do that. At the end of the day it’s just good engineering, you have to put one step after the other, and they changed the concept late in the winter, I believe, with their car, and bided their time and brought an upgrade and since then they have added performance.

“This is where we are trying to get to to a stable platform, ‘OK this is what we want from the car’ and then the development machine just runs with it. We have been zig zagging a little bit of where we thought we needed to have the performance. One thing in Formula 1 you can’t buy is time, and once you’ve got it wrong you’re on the back foot, and it’s very difficult to leapfrog.”

As well as highlighting how the power unit plays a part in McLaren’s performance, Wolff reiterates how Mercedes can take inspiration from the fact that it is possible to quickly become a threat to Red Bull with the right development path.

“Yeah I think it’s a fantastic recovery story, when you look at where McLaren was 12 months ago, I think they barely got out of Q1 and now they’re fighting square and fair for race victories,” he said. “The car’s not only fast but also very good on the tires.

“For us we see the engine, and the engine is good on the tires as well, and on the other side the recovery they made from what I said a backmarker to a front runner in less than 12 months, basically July to April, and that’s something we are looking at and saying it is possible with the right steps to make a car that is at the end of that front pack to hopefully make a step forward.”

Story originally appeared on Racer