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Marko puzzled by Mercedes' extended F1 crisis

Marko puzzled by Mercedes' extended F1 crisis
© Reuters
Dr. Helmut Marko confesses his astonishment that Mercedes has yet to conquer the ground effect regulations introduced in 2022, despite three years of attempts.

Dr. Helmut Marko confesses his astonishment that Mercedes has yet to conquer the ground effect regulations introduced in 2022, despite three years of attempts.

Ex-F1 driver Christian Danner recently suggested that the passing of Toto Wolff's former colleague, Niki Lauda, might be a factor in Mercedes' persistent difficulties. These challenges have led to Lewis Hamilton's decision to switch to Ferrari by 2025.

"It's not that simple," stated Marko, Red Bull's senior F1 advisor, in an interview with Osterreich newspaper.

"You don't enter a slump like this overnight," he noted. "But what is alarming is that they have not been competitive for a third season now."

Observers note that Mercedes' predicament seemed to worsen in 2024 despite the Brackley-based team discarding its unique 'no sidepods' design during the off-season, opting instead for a design closer to Red Bull's approach.

Despite this, team leader and co-owner Wolff normally remains outwardly optimistic, although some suggest it might be time for serious concern and ringing alarm bells.

"They probably are ringing," Marko observed. "What confuses me the most is that their car is really fast at times, making me think 'Now they've got it!' But it's always just a flash in the pan."

The Austrian newspaper Kleine Zeitung questioned whether Marko had any guidance for Wolff, given the prolonged downturn after years of dominance.

"That's a good question," he remarked. "I'm surprised by the situation myself."

"In Brazil 2022, after George Russell's victory, they believed things would get better. But so far they haven't brought any consistency."

"The car works well on some tracks and not at all elsewhere. The reasons are certainly more to do with the chassis, and they haven't found the solution yet."

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