Mercedes must be considered an “outlier” following its terrible Sao
Paulo Grand Prix performance given its success, believes boss Toto
Wolff. The eight-time champions struggled badly at Interlagos, with
a combination of tyre degradation, low straight-line speed and
reliability concerns meaning the team only picked up four points
through Lewis Hamilton’s eighth place as George Russell retired
after both dropped back from promising grid spots and starts. It
capped off a poor season for the Brackley team in which its zero
sidepod concept was firmly abandoned while it has struggled to find
performance to the resculpted W14 to try and match Red Bull and Max
Verstappen. Despite the performance, Wolff is optimistic as he
believes the weekend firmly showed the team the direction it needs
to go to get back in race-winning contention. Wolff: Mercedes are
an outlier A lot of change, but this is our route. Fundamentally
different car next year. And today proves that that is the right
thing to do. Or confirms that it’s right. “This is our route, and
we will have a fundamentally different car next year,” Wolff told
media including RacingNews365. “[This race] proves that it is the
right thing to do. “Last year, you come out of an Interlagos
weekend and you’re absolutely on top, you’re demolishing your
competition on Saturday and Sunday, and it was like: ‘Are we doing
the right thing by continuing with the chassis that we have?’ “Now
it is pretty clear. It feels horrible for the whole team, and I
wish we could start the new season and concentrate on the new car.
“The glass is always half-empty, but what we know is that we’re
changing the car completely. “We are an outlier, we’re an outlier
compared to the last eight years when we’ve been at the front
solidly, we’ve structured people to perform at the front, whether
it is winning championships or not, and I think it more than
confirmed that the steps we have taken are necessary.”

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