Mercedes Formula 1 team CEO and Principal Toto Wolff fears a decline might be on the anvil. After last season’s dramatic showdown between their star driver Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, the Brackley-based outfit has struggled to find old gears in 2022. The supposedly revolutionary potential of their car- the W13- is yet to be unlocked, leaving the team in Red Bull and Ferrari’s slipstream in both the Drivers and Constructors standings.

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But the Austrian boss is unwilling to accept this fate. To arrest this slide, he has turned to a fellow English sporting institution in decline- Manchester United– to remedy their fortunes. In studying the record-Premier League champions’ downfall, he hopes to understand how successful teams stop being so; how title runs suddenly turn into barren years:

“’I studied why great teams were not able to repeat great title [runs],” remarked Wolff referencing United.

“No sports team in any sport has ever won eight consecutive World Championship titles and there are many reasons for that, and what is at the core is the human. The human gets complacent. You are not energised in the same way you were before. You are maybe not as ambitious,” he added in an interview with The Financial Times.

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Riding on Hamilton’s peak years, Mercedes reeled off seven straight championships on the bounce between 2014 to 2020, holding off all comers. The Briton helped himself to six titles during this historic spell, taking his tally of driver championships to seven. But a dominant Red Bull had inched ahead last season and has looked invincible this year. Ferrari– themselves recovering from a steady decline- have made the yards on Mercedes.

Worryingly, Hamilton is unlikely to continue beyond next season, threatening retirement earlier this year. While it will be hard to recapture the “glory glory” years of the 2010s, the team hopes to remain competitive. As Hamilton gives way to George Russell, the silver arrows will build for the future, keeping in mind the mistakes made by Post-Ferguson era United.