Mercedes car to ‘evolve’ during busy F1 period
By Mat Coch
Thursday 27th April, 2023 - 11:59am
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has admitted the W14 car will “continue to evolve” as F1 embarks on a run of five races in six weeks.
Hamilton finished second to Max Verstappen in Melbourne, heading Fernando Alonso for much of the race.
The result marked Mercedes’ first podium of the year and came against a critical rhetoric, led by Wolff and then-technical boss Mike Elliott.
“Australia showed that we are making progress, although we need to be cautious about reading too much into a single result,” Wolff said.
“But the signs in Melbourne were still encouraging and that has been a good motivator for the whole team heading into this gap in the calendar.
“Over the next races, we want to keep on making small steps forward.
“The car will continue to evolve in the coming weeks, as we steadily bring performance and upgrades to the track.
“We’re excited to see their impact, but we know there is no magic bullet.”
Wolff and Elliott have raised questions about the underlying concept of the W14.
Mercedes has employed a different design philosophy from the rest of the F1 grid since the regulations changed at the start of last year.
That has seen it lose ground to Red Bull and Ferrari, and concede the development path it chose was not the right one.
There are updates due over the coming races to remedy some of the car’s weaknesses, though that will take time.
As will the impact of staffing changes, with Elliott having swapped roles with James Allison.
Allison led Mercedes’ technical charge while it dominated Formula 1 before moving up the ladder.
His first race back in the role will be in Azerbaijan this weekend.
“The racing in Baku is always dramatic and entertaining,” said Wolff of this weekend’s event.
“It’s a challenging track with the walls close, so there’s no room for error.
“We also have our first F1 Sprint weekend of the season with a tweaked format.
“It’s an interesting challenge for us to tackle, with only a single practice session to be ready for two qualifying sessions and races spread across Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
“Hopefully this will mean more excitement and action for fans to enjoy.”