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Toto Wolff Cancels Skipping Japanese GP Amidst Mercedes’ Woeful Season Start

Anirban Aly Mandal

Toto Wolff Cancels Skipping Japanese GP Amidst Mercedes’ Woeful Season Start

Mercedes have had a disastrous start to the 2024 F1 season as per their own lofty standards. The Silver Arrows currently sit fourth in the Constructors’ Championship, a solid 29 points off McLaren. By pure numbers, this has been their worst start to the season for the team in over a decade. With the Japanese GP due to take place this weekend, team principal Toto Wolff has canceled his scheduled absence and will be there at the Suzuka International Circuit, as per Sky Sports F1.

In the past, Wolff has taken a few race weekends off. Last year, he missed the Japanese GP and the subsequent Qatar GP as he recuperated from a knee surgery.

However, his role as the team’s CEO also means that he has other responsibilities off the track. But the way his team’s 2024 season has started, the Austrian has canceled his other plans to take matters into his own hands and focus on the race weekend to come.

The W15 has indeed failed to live up to expectations. Rather, this year’s challenger seems to be even more troublesome for George Russell and Lewis Hamilton to handle, as evidenced by their struggles at the Australian GP.

Hamilton has suffered his worst start to a season since 2009. Mercedes are suffering such a fate despite having been optimistic about their fortunes after pre-season testing.

The plausible reason for their poor performances is the disconnect between what the team reads off the data on their simulators and their results on track. With things only getting worse, the pressure is mounting up on Wolff, who not only is the team’s boss but also a one-third shareholder of the F1 side.

Is Toto Wolff feeling the pressure at Mercedes?

Mercedes has massively fallen back in the pecking order with the likes of Ferrari and McLaren now comfortably ahead of them in terms of pure performance. Naturally, this string of bad results has mounted pressure on Toto Wolff.

Despite being a part-owner of the team, the Austrian is not invincible. Mercedes’s board can decide to sack him if he fails to turn the fortunes of the side.

With the 2026 engine-regulation reset right around the corner, the team has a chance to mend their fortunes. It could prove as an equalizer between Red Bull and their rivals, and Wolff needs to ensure his team ace their power unit.

But if the team does fail to improve in 2026 as well, it could be the last straw for Wolff at the helm of the side. The 52-year-old has led Mercedes to eight consecutive Constructors’ titles in the past from 2014 to 2021, but all the good work can be wiped out in F1. Wolff knows this better than anyone else.

Moreover, Wolff has taken a beating on the commercial side of things as well. According to a Business F1 report, after the disappointment of the 2022 season, the Austrian took a staggering $3,800,000 hit in terms of his salary.

Post Edited By:Vidit Dhawan

About the author

Anirban Aly Mandal

Anirban Aly Mandal


Anirban Aly Mandal is an F1 writer at The SportsRush, with over 1000 articles under his belt, Anirban's love for F1 started when he discovered a copy of F1 2014 on his computer. With over half a decade's worth of time spent religiously following the sport, he’s dived deep into the world of motorsports. However, Anirban's expertise goes beyond just writing - he has also written several academic papers focused on the domain of motorsports and the law. His passion for the sport is so immense that he aspires to work as a legal advisor in the most prestigious racing series in the world someday. When it comes to Formula 1, Anirban finds great pleasure in re-watching classic races and idolizes the likes of Ayrton Senna, Nigel Mansell, and Sebastian Vettel. His top picks include Brazil '91, Silverstone '92, and Germany '19. Outside of the sport, Anirban is an avid sim racer, often found racing on titles like Assetto Corsa, F1 22, and Automobilista. Apart from his interests in gaming, Anirban has a keen interest in philosophy, literature and music.

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