Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff has taken the blame for the increasing tensions with Valtteri Bottas.

Mercedes are in a spot of bother at the moment. This entire season, they have been second to Red Bull, who are now favourites to win the Constructor’s Championship. Off the track, they face issues with driver morale and tensions between team members.

At the centre of it all is Wolff. In addition to his heated verbal exchanges with Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner, he is also at odds with his own team members. After the Monaco Grand Prix, his comments on Bottas suggested he wasn’t best friends with him.

However, after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, he took blame for some of the problems, while also shifting some of it to the media.

Toto Wolff explains confusion around Valtteri Bottas' "team order” | Silver  Arrows Net
Toto Wolff (behind) regrets his statements about Bottas’ pit stop. Source: silverarrows.net

Tensions between Wolff and Bottas escalated after the former blamed the latter for his pit stop in Monaco. Bottas dismissed it and chose not to speak too much, but the damage had been done.

Wolff retracted his statements by admitting it was his fault, saying, “It was probably my mistake. When I analysed the stop, I said that it drove a few centimetres too little without understanding that as blame.

“He was actually very precise during the stop. He didn’t make a mistake in the whole story, it was our problem.” 

Wolff also addressed the media letting the fires burn. The Austrian said, “That just means people want to tell a story.”

Uphill battle

The Mercedes CEO doesn’t back down from speaking publicly. This past weekend, the 49-year-old had a heated exchange with Christian Horner. The Red Bull Team Principal admitted his rival’s tendency to call his team out doesn’t appeal to him.

“He never hesitates to criticise his team in front of everyone, and I disagree with that,” Horner said.

Wolff has a huge task on his hands as Mercedes looks to bounce back in France. They will need him at the top of his game to oversee a turnaround of fortunes.

Read more: WATCH: The changing emotions of Toto Wolff after Hamilton fail in Baku

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