Toto Wolff shoots down ‘arrogant’ claims after Lewis Hamilton outburst

Hamilton opens up on plans to remain in F1 ahead of new season

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Toto Wolff has shot down claims Mercedes have developed “engineering arrogance” after dominating the turbo-hybrid era. Wolff said he sees no concerns within the team and explained the Silver Arrows’ issues as simply reaching a “dead end”.

Mercedes were the dominant force in F1 from 2014 with the German manufacturer picking up seven Drivers’ Championships back-to-back until the end of 2020 and eight straight Constructors’ Championships. However, the team went in a different direction than their rivals last season which backfired with a year spent on the sidelines as Red Bull eased to both titles.

Wolff made his passionate defence after Sky Sports F1’s Rachael Brooks pondered whether “arrogance” played any part in their downfall. Wolff replied: “I think all engineers and all of us together were trying to do the best possible for the car and sometimes we just get it wrong.

“Whether you have an unconscious bias or conscious bias, it’s just a human reaction and I think it’s up to us to have that open discussion.

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“I don’t see any engineering arrogance within our team but we have simply run into a one-way street, a dead-end street and realised this is where it ends and we need to turn around and find another way. The team is absolutely open in every single department.”

Mercedes believed they would be able to solve their problems for 2023 after tackling the dreaded porpoising which plagued their season last year. But, the German marque struggled in Bahrain with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell unable to match Max Verstappen and Red Bull.

Wolff’s statement also comes a week after Hamilton appeared to criticise Mercedes bosses over the direction of the W14. The seven-time champion claimed that chiefs didn’t listen to him over the direction of the W14.

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He also called on those responsible to “own up” and demanded “accountability” for the poor performance. Hamilton appeared to U-turn on the statements on Thursday as he stressed it “wasn’t the best choice of words”.

However, he stood by his suggestions that Mercedes mechanics needed a “kick” if the team want to challenge back at the sharp end. He explained: “I still have 100 per cent belief in this team, it is my family and I’ve been here a long time, so I don’t plan on going anywhere else.

“But we all need a kick, we all need to get on – the proof is in the pudding, we’ve seen where the performance is and how people are extracting the performance, and we’ve got to now start making some bold decisions, some big moves in order to close the gap to these guys.”

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