Mercedes missing influence of Niki Lauda amid tough period - Toto Wolff

Niki Lauda won three Formula One Grand Prix championships (1975, 1977, and 1984). Clive Mason/Getty Images

Toto Wolff said Mercedes has missed the straightforward approach of former non-executive chairman Niki Lauda, especially during the struggles of the last year and a half.

Three-time champion Lauda was an integral part of the dominant Mercedes team up until his death in 2019.

Lauda was frequently at races in that role and provided support to Wolff, while Lewis Hamilton has frequently stated what an influential presence the Austrian was within the team.

Mercedes' dominant spell of eight successive constructors' titles came to a halt last year, with a single race victory, and they look even further away from championship contention in 2023.

Asked how the team is missing Lauda, Wolff said: "Niki's missed all those years because Niki always simplified things to really what mattered.

"I'm having to think what would he have said, and how would he have positioned [things], and the two of us worked well together in that sense that sometimes oversimplification can lead you straight to the results.

"But there are lots of nuances. This is a technical sport, so maybe my role was to translate it in a way that we actually were able to execute it in the car design.

"But this is very simple: the stopwatch never lies, and we see on the data where we are missing and that needs to be corrected."

Mercedes has already ditched its radical 2023 concept after seeing how far off the pace of Red Bull it was this year.

The team is expected to move towards Red Bull's car design and has an upgrade in the pipeline for the Imola race in May.