Toto Wolff, the executive director of Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team, is braced for a difficult weekend at the Monaco Grand Prix. Mercedes scored a dominant one-two at the last race in Spain but the team was quick to play down expectations for the next round, the famous race around the streets of Monte Carlo. The team struggled in Monaco last year; Lewis Hamilton failed to make Q3 and finished seventh, while Valtteri Bottas finished fourth. After the easy win in Spain Wolff was asked if he was worried about Monaco, to which he replied: “Bloody worried!
“We have seen in the last years that there were always tracks that suited us well, and some that we weren’t perfect, for whatever reason. It’s very difficult to undo the DNA of a car, and Monaco, Budapest, Singapore, were all tracks where we underperformed — underperformed a lot — last year. It’s a great challenge for us to come back this year, tame the ‘diva’ — it’s not a diva this year, actually, she’s behaving better. It’s a difficult one. Why our car doesn’t like to be quick around the corners in Monaco, we haven’t found out yet.” – he explained.
Having been clearly top of the order in Spain, Toto Wolff thinks Mercedes could drop behind its two primary rivals — Red Bull and Scuderia Ferrari — this weekend: “We don’t head into the weekend as favourites — they are Red Bull and Ferrari. Red Bull are strong in the slow-speed corners and where straight line speed is less important, while Ferrari dominated last year. Our job is to deliver a smooth practice programme, apply our learning from recent races and maximise the potential of the car, whatever that proves to be. We are now starting the heart of the season, with seven races ahead in the next ten weekends. We will race on a broad range of circuits before the summer break, with races coming thick and fast. This will test the team to its limits – and any weaknesses will be harshly punished in the points. We are clear-sighted about the challenge ahead of us and determined to prevail.” – he concluded.