Mercedes F1 working window ‘probably too high’

Mercedes has a better understanding of its operating window after three races in 2023

Mercedes has a better understanding of its working window after three races in 2023

Toto Wolff has suggested Mercedes targeted the wrong working window for its 2023 car after reacting to a similar issue last year.

George Russell handed the squad its only 2022 win in the Sao Paulo Grand Prix in a season that saw Mercedes fall to third behind Red Bull and Ferrari.

Much of the year was spent battling a car plagued by porpoising issues as it worked to understand and then engineer out the issue all while in a cost cap environment.

“I think where we put the car last year was probably too low, where we developed the car for this year was probably too high,” Wolff explained.

“All of these decisions can be retraced and are understood now.

“With what the package is now, the team is able to just pinpoint and find the sweet spot of the car much better.

“There’s been some great work done in the aerodynamics over the last few weeks in trying to add performance where we believe we missed it before.

“All of that is all of that is coming together and it’s just a matter of having a good weekend and extracting the performance that is in the car plus the understand we have.”

Mercedes put in an improved showing at the Australian Grand Prix, qualifying second and third before Russell led in the early stages.

Lewis Hamilton too had a spell out front though ultimately had no answer for Max Verstappen’s Red Bull.

“I think that obviously over more races we understand better,” Wolff said of the Albert Park performance.

“I think the mechanical setup group, including the tyres, did a good job and the drivers, obviously in delivering.

“We could say that every track is different and certainly it was cold [in Melbourne], that will have played a role.

“But again, also you need to take the average of all the results over the last three races and qualifying.

“That one is clearly pushing us up a little bit.”

Mercedes is still planning on revamping the W14 as it looks to claw back the deficit to Red Bull.

That is expected to see a notable deviation from the current car, verging on a B-spec when launched later in the year.

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