Coulthard: Wolff admission is 'big kick in the whatnots' for Mercedes engineers

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David Coulthard says that Toto Wolff's admission last weekend in Bahrain that Mercedes' current concept is flawed, is the equivalent of a "big kick in the what nots" for the outfit's design team.

Mercedes' underperformance in qualifying in Bahrain led a candid Wolff to concede that the zero side-pod concept pursued by the team since last year is flawed and won't allow his outfit to be competitive this season.

"We gave it our best shot all over the winter, and now we just need to all regroup and sit down with the engineers, who are totally not dogmatic about anything," commented Wolff.

"There are no holy cows and we need to decide what is the development direction that we want to pursue, in order to be competitive to win races."

It was an astonishing about-face for the Mercedes boss, and one that Coulthard viewed as extremely brutal and which resonated as an indictment of the Brackley squad's engineering team.

"I think it was brutal," Coulthard told Channel 4 after the season opener.

"This car has only been alive for six days, a few days of testing, three days here. I don’t know where he’s coming from with that.

"But yeah, they’ve got a completely different strategy with the sidepods. They clearly have to try and follow the pack now. But that is like a big kick in the whatnots for [the] design team."

And race day at Sakhir didn't encourage Wolff to rein in his opinion, as Mercedes drivers were unable to match the pace of Ferrari and Aston Martin Martin, let alone Red Bull.

"That was one of our worst days in racing," Wolff said. "It was not good at all, we are lacking pace front, right, and centre.

"The Aston Martins are very fast, and the Red Bull is just on a different planet.

"It hurts that they are so far ahead," added the Austrian. "It reminds me of our best years where we put one second on everyone else.

"That is the benchmark. We need to put one foot in front of the other to come back but nobody in this team will throw in the towel.

"We need to dig deep, deeper than we ever have done before. And we can do that."

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