Toto Wolff admits that in their current state, a World Championship challenge from Mercedes in 2022 is a “very long shot”.
The reigning Constructors’ champions had the third fastest cars on the grid throughout the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell spending most of the race running fifth and sixth.
But both Red Bull cars retiring towards the end of the race elevated Hamilton up to a place on the podium, with Russell following closely behind to take a P4 finish.
Wolff admitted the team need to work out the source of their issues sooner rather than later, to a degree where he said they would “simply take a chainsaw” to the W13 to assess where they can make quick improvements.
But when it comes to the bigger picture of challenging for both titles over the course of the season, he is not convinced their prospects will improve just yet.
Morning Team. 👊 We know there’s still lots of work to do but we can’t help smiling today. pic.twitter.com/cUbS2MltbG
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) March 21, 2022
“It’s too early to really look at the championship as it stands,” said Wolff after the chequered flag, quoted by The Race.
“If you look at the pecking order today it seems like a very long shot to even think about being in contention for any of the championships.
“But if I look at it as a single race weekend, we probably scored the maximum points we could have. And we need to take it from there.
“Every single weekend counts and at the moment it’s singular events because realistically when you are third on the road, you can’t think about winning.”
Hamilton, meanwhile, was keen to take the positives from the race, given he secured an unexpected podium finish and put 15 points on the board when he thought he would be fifth at best on Sunday.
Because of the team’s attitude in trying to move forward quickly, he feels the result could help galvanise Mercedes moving forward.
“I think incredibly motivating probably for the whole team,” he told reporters after the race. “Given we have been faced with these challenges we weren’t expecting. But nobody’s been down during this phase when we’ve been struggling through practice.
“Everyone’s stayed positive, everyone’s just kept their head down and kept working. Nobody’s moaned and that’s great to see.
“And so while we don’t have the performance of these other guys, I think in terms of our processes, in terms of squeezing absolutely everything out of the car, I think that’s what we did and for both drivers, and I think that’s a true showing of strength within.”