Mercedes to make one-car development call

Mercedes is set to develop one car going forward - will it be Lewis Hamilton or George Russell?

Mercedes is set to develop one car going forward – will the call be made for Lewis Hamilton or George Russell?

Toto Wolff has revealed Mercedes is to make a call on whether to develop the car of Lewis Hamilton or George Russell going forward this F1 season.

Wolff has already conceded his team is unconvinced by its continued use of the zero-sidepod concept that raised eyebrows when it was introduced at the start of last year.

Trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin has also promised there will be visible and radical changes to the W14 over the coming races.

But in terms of adopting an altogether different philosophy from the design that underwhelmed in the season-opening race in Bahrain last weekend, Wolff has indicated Mercedes’ eggs will have to be placed in one basket.

One reason behind that is the budget cap, which this year is set at US$135 million, which means Mercedes cannot run a two-car development programme.

“I don’t think we’re constrained by the budget cap,” said Wolff. “We just need to decide where we want the development direction to go and then put all our efforts into it.

“We’re not going to develop two cars side by side, but we can develop one car and we want to decide in the next days and weeks which car that will be.”

Red Bull and Aston Martin offer development direction indicator

Wolff has previously claimed the sidepod design was not at fault for Mercedes’ below-par performance last season, given the standards it had previously set in winning eight consecutive constructors’ championships.

Aston Martin, however, has highlighted what can be achieved given its own winter of development and following the philosophy taken by Red Bull’s title-winning RB18 with its current AMR23 this season.

That allowed Aston Martin to be the second-best team in Bahrain, and two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso to score only his second podium in nine years.

Asked as to whether it was now pretty clear which development route Mercedes should take, Wolff replied: “It is pretty clear where we should be going.

“We just need to make the data work. The most important is really establishing a solid baseline, saying this is where we are and there are no surprises in the direction.”

Join the discussion below in the comments section

Please note: reserves the right to remove any comment that does not follow the comment policy. For support, contact [email protected]