The 2022 challenger was plagued by porpoising and bouncing while its W14 successor drew complaints from drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell over rear-end handling instability.

That prompted Mercedes to change concept by 2024, fully abandoning a size-zero sidepod architecture in the hope of developing a platform that was more predictable and consistent.

But the new W15 has also proven temperamental. Mercedes motorsport boss Wolff believes this now points to the team’s wind tunnel findings not matching how the car behaves on track.

“When I look at the positives, I think we took many potential root causes out of the equation,” Wolff said of Mercedes addressing the weaknesses of her recent ground-effect creations.

“We weren’t sure about our suspension. We weren’t sure about the stiffness of our gearbox carrier. We had a vibrating steering rack. All of those things have disappeared.

“But fundamentally, whatever we see in the tunnel doesn’t correlate with what’s happening on the track.”

The Austrian reckoned it was a blanket issue with translating the data, rather than any one member of staff leading the team in the wrong direction with their specific interpretation.

He continued: “It is not a single person that says, ‘I would interpret that data in this way’ and because of a dogma, because of dogmatism, we’re not making any progress.

“I don’t see dogmatism. I see an open environment where people share, where people take themselves by the nose and say, ‘Maybe in my area we are making mistakes.’”

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Wolff has frequently talked up Mercedes having a ‘no blame’ culture.

The former Williams F1 team shareholder continued: “It’s so tough in my career, in everything I’ve done before, be it in finance and investment, that you know which screws to turn.

“Sometimes it takes time because back in my Williams days, I knew what was missing.

“But here, I don’t think we are missing something. It is just a complication of what’s happening with the car that we can’t see. “It’s like an on-off switch.”

Wolff’s assessment followed last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, from which Hamilton retired with a power unit failure before Russell wiped out late on as Ferrari scored 1-2.

“Then you see the progress that McLaren and Ferrari have made,” said Wolff, whose cars led the early laps of the 2023 edition of the Australian GP.

“This is the difference between last year and this year. This was a pretty good weekend for us last year. We were leading at the beginning 1-2.

“So, we’ve got to really dig deep because it is brutally painful.”

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