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Toto Wolff: Mercedes boss cancels plan to skip Japanese GP amid team's poor start to 2024 F1 season

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff had initially planned to miss the Japanese Grand Prix; Mercedes have made a hugely disappointing start to the 2024 F1 season; watch every session of the Japanese GP on Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event with the race at 6am on Sunday

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A panicked George Russell calls for a red flag over Mercedes team radio following his crash on the penultimate lap of the Australian Grand Prix. Video contains content that some viewers may find distressing

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff will attend this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix after altering his plans to miss the event.

It was widely reported after last month's Australian Grand Prix that Wolff would be absent in Suzuka as part of a planned schedule established before the start of the 24-race season.

However, Mercedes have confirmed that the Austrian will now be present at the fourth round of the campaign, from which every session is live on Sky Sports F1.

Wolff's change of schedule comes after a hugely disappointing start to the season for the Silver Arrows.

A double DNF in Australia last time out left Mercedes fourth in the constructors' standings and 72 points behind Red Bull, with Ferrari only four points back from the leaders.

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Lewis Hamilton reports an engine failure and retires from a chaotic Australian Grand Prix!

With the sport's calendar having reached a record 24 rounds, teams have begun to rotate personnel at events to protect their well-being.

Along with being team principal, Wolff is also chief executive of the F1 team along with being director of Mercedes motorsport, leaving him with additional responsibilities away from the track that the majority of his counterparts would not share.

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The 52-year-old is understood to maintain a fluid schedule that allows for changes during the season.

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says Mercedes lack of performance is not for a lack of trying but it is not good enough after qualifying P7 and P11.

After seeing both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell retire from the race in Melbourne, Wolff said it was "fair" to question his position as team principal.

The Australian Grand Prix marked one of the lowest points in Wolff's tenure as Mercedes' lack of pace was compounded by an engine failure for Hamilton and late crash for Russell.

"As a corner of this business, I need to be sure that my contribution is positive and accretive," Wolff said in Melbourne.

"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."

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Guenther Steiner claims nothing is impossible when it comes to a potential eighth world title for Lewis Hamilton and the former Haas boss also has his say on Max Verstappen.

Wolff oversaw a period of historic success as Mercedes won eight successive constructors' titles between 2014 and 2021, but the team have won just one race since new design regulations were introduced in 2022,

"We have a physics problem, not a philosophical or organisational problem," he added. "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."

Sky Sports F1's live Japanese GP schedule

Thursday April 4
4.30am: Drivers' press conference

Friday April 5
3am: Japanese GP Practice One (session starts at 3.30am)*
6.45am: Japanese GP Practice Two (session starts at 7am)*

8.15am: The F1 Show*
10am: Japanese GP Practice One replay
11.30am: Japanese GP Practice Two replay

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Look back on some of the most exciting title deciders to take place at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Saturday April 6
3.15am: Japanese GP Practice Three (session starts at 3.30am)*
6am: Japanese GP Qualifying build-up*
7am: Japanese GP Qualifying*
9am: Ted's Qualifying Notebook*
9.30am: Japanese GP Qualifying replay

Sunday April 7
5am: Grand Prix Sunday Japanese GP build-up*
8am: Chequered Flag: Japanese GP reaction*
9am: Ted's Notebook*
9.30am: Japanese Grand Prix highlights*
10.30am: Japanese Grand Prix replay

*also live on Sky Sports Main Event

Formula 1's biggest ever season continues with the Japanese Grand Prix, live on Sky Sports F1 this weekend. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership - No contract, cancel anytime

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