Wolff performs Japanese GP U-turn

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff had planned to skip the Japanese GP but has now had a change of heart.

Wolff performs Japanese GP U-turn
Toto Wolff has reversed his decision to skip this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix in the wake of Mercedes' disappointing start to the new F1 season. With the expansion of the Formula 1 calendar this year to 24 races, team principal Wolff had planned to oversee the event at Suzuka from his home in Monaco. Wolff did likewise in 2022 when Mercedes won its only race of that year in Brazil where George Russell spearheaded a one-two. The Austrian was also absent for last year's Japanese GP, along with the following event in Qatar, although that was a result of him undergoing knee surgery. On this occasion for the race at the legendary Japanese track, it was understood that Wolff's decision to again 'work from home' was in no way related to the team's poor performance at the last race in Australia. Mercedes was left at a loss to understand its lack of performance over the weekend at Melbourne's Albert Park which culminated in Lewis Hamilton retiring after 19 laps with a power unit issue, whilst George Russell crashed out on the penultimate lap as he hunted Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso for sixth position. The result means Mercedes has endured its worst start to a season after the opening three grands prix since the introduction of the turbo-hybrid era in 2014, scoring just 26 points to leave it in fourth position in the constructors' championship, already 71 shy of leaders Red Bull. Wolff stated after that grand prix that it was “fair” to question his leadership position within the organisation. At the time, he said: “I need to make sure that my contribution is positive, so I would be the first one to say, 'If somebody has a better idea, tell me'. ”I'm interested [in] turning this team around as quickly as possible, and I'll happily give my input on what that would be, or who that could be.” In a bid to reverse the team's fortunes, Wolff is now making sure he is on hand in Japan. With a fluid schedule, he is likely to miss other races over the coming months.

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