While the first two Grands Prix of the season confirmed the domination of Red Bull Racing, Toto Wolff assured that it was not realistic to see Mercedes quickly erase their delay on the Austrian team.
Mercedes has not taken its head above water. While the W14 shows a glaring lack of performance, the German team has made no secret of its desire to deeply review its concept in the weeks and months to come. But, to hear Toto Wolff, seeing the Silver Arrows return to their former level is not an option this year. ” We are only at two Grands Prix this year, but is it realistic when we observe the gaps? No it is notsaid the Austrian leader in remarks collected by the British magazine Autosport. But we just want to give it our all and see what happens. »
If George Russell and Lewis Hamilton have raised their heads in Saudi Arabia, with fourth and fifth places, the Mercedes team does not expect to become a rival to Red Bull Racing over the course of the season and Toto Wolff hopes at best to live the same scenario than in 2022. “We were able to catch up a lot last year, with a car that bounced way too much, which, in a way, overshadowed everything else, recalled the latter . Eventually we won a Grand Prix and we got closer to them, and I think that’s what we should be aiming for. »
We’re focused on hunting down as much as we can. Who’s with us, Team? 👊 pic.twitter.com/0iPQweAvzT
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) March 24, 2023
Wolff does not expect miracles
A process that the boss of the Brackley-based team sees taking “between six and twelve months”, like what had allowed George Russell to get his first victory in F1 last year in Brazil. A time that had proven necessary to “understand what was really going on with the car” while a return to the forefront will require “doubling the speed of development” but also “having a stronger development curve”.
But Toto Wolff is also counting on a slowdown in development at Red Bull Racing, which will have to deal with the restrictions resulting from the sanctions imposed by the FIA for having exceeded the budget ceiling in 2021. Logic and rationality dictate that for Red Bull Racing, the gains will be lower and lower if their concept is mature, says the boss of the Silver Arrows. I think aero-wise, and with wind tunnel weather, it can help a little, but not a lot. If Mercedes will have to be “perfect”, obtaining “significant” progress will also require a better understanding of the single-seater. And the German team goes a long way.