Toto Wolff's leadership style at Mercedes has been questioned by Sky Sports reporter Ted Kravitz, who believes the team principal made some concerning calls during 2023.
Having dominated Formula 1 between 2014 and 2021 winning eight consecutive constructors' championships and seven drivers' championships, Mercedes are now on a run of winning just one race in the last two seasons.
During this fallow period, Mercedes have released disappointing cars in the W13 and W14 that suffered as a result of being designed around the failed zeropod concept.
After a hugely disappointing qualifying session at the Bahrain Grand Prix at the start of last season, Wolff publicly declared a total revamp of the team's direction - effectively ditching the zeropod concept in a bid to reel in rivals Red Bull.
“The only thing I’d mark him down on was his keenness to throw the concept away so publicly after qualifying in Bahrain," he told the Sky Sports podcast.
“We don’t really know why he did sign off on the ‘sister of the bad car’, which is how Lewis Hamilton described it. W14 was the sister of W13 and they were both not great cars.
“Toto must have signed it off. As a leader, he could have said: ‘I disagree, let’s go with the Red Bull concept.’ But whatever reason they didn’t.
“He signed it off and then [after] that very first [qualifying] session – I remember the interview vividly – coming out so strongly and it took me aback when he said it.
“He said this car is weak. It’s bad. This was after qualifying. The first race.
“I know he was right, but to immediately throw the whole concept in the trash can then was the only [reason] I’m slightly thinking that it wasn’t quite the calm, assured Toto leadership that we’ve seen.”
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