Former Formula 1 team Eddie Jordan slammed Mercedes boss Toto Wolff for criticizing the team’s engineers and refusing to accept they got their sums wrong for the aero rules that kicked in last year.
Under Wolff’s watch, since 2014 Mercedes became the mightiest team the sport has ever seen, a testament to those recent years is an almost clean sweep of 15 F1 titles in eight years, six of them going to Lewis Hamilton, one to Nico Rosberg and the rest to the Team.
However, in less than two years they have collapsed, denying their two great drivers, Hamilton and his high-rated heir Geroge Russell, a chance at vying for wins; a solitary win in Brazil by their newcomer to the team last year was a deceptive reward.
The buck stops with Wolff, declared Jordan in a recent interview with OLBG: “We saw the Mercedes car was poor last year, porpoising up and down but they have eradicated some of that. Lewis Hamilton is a seven-time world champion who has a really impressive teammate in George Russell who was beaten his expectations so far.
“I’m critical of Toto Wolff of how he criticised his engineers and how they took their eye off the ball, it’s all been done under his watch so it’s his responsibility. The book starts with him, Wolff should face the criticism like a man, like a team boss, like a chief executive and face up to the fact that Mercedes have got it wrong.”
Indeed, the tight and ugly concept used on the Mercedes W13 and W14 has not worked, when over the winter it was expected that Merc would u-turn their package, closer to the one they unleashed during the first test using these cars in Barcelona last year, where they topped the timing sheets, before disappearing out of favour and the ‘lemon’ getting the nod.
The price is still being paid for Mercedes’ stubbornness as Jeddah and Bahrain showed
On the evidence of the opening two races in Bahrain and Jeddah, the once serial World Champs, remain nowhere relative to pace-setting Red Bull, . Mired in a very closely knit midfield where lacking a tenth or more is the difference between Q1 and Q3 when all the firepower is unleashed in qualifying.
Jordan reckons: “Mercedes are on the same level as Ferrari but not on the same level as Aston Martin or Red Bull. Aston Martin is made up of a number of people who come from Red Bull, and they have a Mercedes engine with Fernando Alonso driving the car. They have two podium finishes now and it’s great for F1.
“If we did not have that excitement and Red Bull continued to walk away with the Championship, it would highlight Mercedes’ decline even more.”
This begs the question. What of Hamilton’s F1 future? Can the seven-time F1 World Champion winner of 103 Grands Prix accept toiling in midpack anonymity? Does he need to drive a car not befitting him?
“Mercedes had the best for a while when Lewis was at the top of his game. The cars Hamilton won his championships with were top cars, but now they need serious change to put up a challenge to Red Bull,” warned Jordan.
The 74-year-old Irishman, reportedly today worth $600-million, built the Jordan F1 Team from scratch, contesting 259 Grand Prix races, their drivers finishing on the podium 19 times four times as winners.
Since Eddie offloaded the team in 2005, the Silverstone-based outfit has changed hands numerous times from Midland to Spyker, Force India, Racing Point, and now the foundation of Lawrence Stroll’s mega Aston Martin F1 dream – a proper rags to riches tale, F1 style!