Mercedes W14 ‘a nasty piece of work’ – Wolff

The W14 has again left Mercedes boss Toto Wolff fuming, describing it as "a nasty piece of work"

The W14 has again left Mercedes boss Toto Wolff fuming, describing it as “a nasty piece of work”

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has again berated the W14, describing it as “a nasty piece of work” following the latest woeful qualifying session.

Lewis Hamilton will start the Miami Grand Prix a wretched 13th, whilst George Russell lines up sixth, although that is only by good fortune after Charles Leclerc crashed out late on to red-flag the qualifying session, with not enough time to restart.

At the end of Q2, Russell only made it into the top-10 shoot-out by 0.052s ahead of Williams’ Alex Albon.

It led to Wolff pulling no punches and offering no defence of a car that has bitterly frustrated, and at times flummoxed, all inside Mercedes as to how and when it best operates.

“The car is not a nice car, not a good car,” said Wolff. “The basic performance of the car is the lack of understanding of the car.

“I would say the performance is just really bad, and for George and Lewis it just really went south. You could see in the first sector the car really wasn’t there.

“When things go bad they compound bad and this has happened for him (Hamilton) and for all of us as a team.

“I take no enjoyment from finishing sixth. It’s the lack of comprehension of what it is that makes this car such a nasty piece of work.”

Mercedes upgrades “a reset” for the car

Just five weeks ago, Russell and Hamilton were able to qualify second and third, with the seven-time F1 champion going on to finish runner-up at the end of a chaotic race at Melbourne’s Albert Park behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

Wolff has since claimed the car lives on a razor’s edge from which its performance can very easily drop off.

Assessing the difference between the car in Miami and the car in early April in Melbourne, he added: “That is a very front-limited track and we put the car in its sweet spot. It performed well and got better over the weekend.

“It is the contrary of what has happened here in that it has gotten worse over the weekend.

“It’s such a narrow operating window that when it’s good, it’s okay. It can deliver a podium.

“If it’s bad, you’re P13, or P10 realistically, in terms of Lewis.”

As Hamilton pointed out after practice on Friday, the upgrades – that include a new front suspension – planned for the next race in Imola cannot come quickly enough.

“What we’re trying to do with the upgrade is to create a new baseline for us to take question marks, variables out of the equation,” said Wolff.

“And to say, ‘This is not a problem now that we have gone to a different spec’. And that is, for example, from the suspension.

“We are also looking at bodywork solutions that are, let’s say, more conventional than others, and obviously, that will create airflow.

“So for me, it’s almost like a reset to what would have been a good start 12 months ago, and then to try to add performance to the car, but at the moment, it’s just a lack of understanding.”

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