After James Allison posed the question “are we morons?” to Mercedes, Toto Wolff admits he’s had “many moments” where that applied to him, while the team also got it “partially wrong” with the 2022 car.

Following two years of struggling to understand Formula 1’s ground effect aerodynamic cars, Mercedes had a breakthrough at the Monaco Grand Prix with the introduction of their new front wing.

Toto Wolff reveals full details of James Allison’s ‘moron’ slide show

Bolting the new wing onto both W15s one race later in Montreal, Mercedes recorded back-to-back P3-P4 results before winning in Austria when George Russell, running third for most of the afternoon, capitalised on a crash between Max Verstappen and Lando Norris to bag Mercedes’ first win since 2022.

It was billed as a “silver bullet” or “eureka moment” for Mercedes but for technical director Allison it was more of a “how could we have been so dumb type moment”.

In fact, such was Allison’s conviction that Mercedes should’ve seen the path forward sooner, Wolff says he even wrote it in a slide presented during a team meeting.

“He actually said, ‘Are we morons, question mark’,” Wolff told Sky’s Martin Brundle. “That was his big slide. James is always good for strong words. He put it on a big slide in an all-staff meeting.”

Revealing the next slide was “yes and no”, Wolff said: “I think that was a moment where the team made a big step in understanding of what was wrong with our development of this new generation of cars.”

Asked who was the first to put up their hand, Wolff admitted: “Me. I would be the first one to say I was a moron. There were certainly many moments in the last few years where I could have been much better than I was.”

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At a time when Mercedes’ new front wing, at least from the outside, is being presented as the breakthrough moment for the team, Wolff admits there’s more to it than that.

For starters, they “partially” got it wrong in 2021 when they were designing the ’22 ground effect aerodynamic car although he stopped short of pointing the finger at the team’s now-axed zero-pod concept.

“Formula One is about physics, it’s not mystics,” he said.

“So an engineer would always say ‘well, it’s very simple, you just got to change the physics of the car’.

“But the truth is it’s humans that take decisions, and I believe that our structure and the decisions that we took were partially wrong, I would say in 2021 [when the ’22 car was on the drawing board].

“And we’ve remedied that with a good group of people. We’ve changed the structure, people have left and us others have joined.

“We have put a lot of diligence in, our meetings are organised, what the process is, and I think this is the main reason why we’ve made that step forward.”

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