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Toto Wolff books last-minute flight to Japanese GP as Mercedes problems mount

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has decided to attend this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix despite initially planning to skip the event. The 52-year-old has been managing his workload over the last few seasons and missed a number of races last year after undergoing knee surgery.

Wolff was initially expected to be absent in Suzuka this weekend, with the decision being taken before the start of the new F1 season. However, it has since been reported by Sky Sports that Wolff will be in the garage as usual after cancelling his plan to stay away.

The Mercedes team principal is said to maintain a fluid schedule which allows for changes to be made during the season. Some teams have been rotating personnel at Grand Prix weekends due to the gruelling 24-race calendar implemented for this year.

The news of Wolff’s decision to attend the race in Japan comes after a hugely disappointing start to the season for Mercedes. The eight-time Constructors’ Championship winners have only earned 26 points from the first three races, leaving them adrift of Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren in the current standings.

Both of their drivers failed to finish in Australia last time around, with Lewis Hamilton suffering a power unit failure and George Russell crashing out on the final lap. After the race, Wolff said that it was ‘fair’ to question his position as team principal in light of their recent struggles.

“As a corner of this business, I need to be sure that my contribution is positive and creative,” said Wolff, who is also chief executive of the Mercedes team as well as being director of the company’s motorsport arm.

“I would be the first one to say, if someone has a better idea, tell me, because I’m interested to turn this team around as quickly as possible, and I’ll happily give my input and see what that would be or who that could be.

“We have a physics problem, not a philosophical or organisational problem. We haven’t swallowed a dumb pill since 2021. It’s just we don’t understand some of the behaviours of the car that, in the past, we would have always understood.

“I look myself in the mirror every single day about everything I do and if I believe that I should ask the manager question or the trainer question, I think it’s a fair question, but it’s not what I feel at the moment that I should do.”

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