Wolff reveals details of first Mercedes upgrade
By Ian Parkes
Wednesday 3rd May, 2023 - 7:34am
Toto Wolff has revealed the extent of the initial Mercedes upgrade that will appear on the W14s from the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix later this month.
After suggesting at the start of the season that the current concept of the car may have to be scrapped, Mercedes has since discovered a development direction it is confident will drag it closer toward Red Bull over time.
The update has been in the pipeline for weeks, with the first piece of the puzzle scheduled to be unveiled ahead of the race at Imola.
“Yeah, the target is Imola,” confirmed Wolff, when asked by Speedcafe whether that was still the plan.
“We just need to manage everybody’s expectation because we’re talking so much about that upgrade, we’re not going to put it down on the track and then drive circles around Red Bull, but it’s going be a good baseline I think.”
Wolff freely concedes that in the cost-cap era, the team is “more stuck than before” with regard to what it would like to develop.
“If we were completely free, we would bring a different chassis,” said Wolff. “And so what we have to decide really carefully is what we want to upgrade.”
Then highlighting what will be on the car in Imola, he added: “So we’re bringing a new front suspension, and then the aero upgrade that comes with it, and floor.
“If we were free, we would probably bring double the amount of upgrades, but so would the others.
“As it’s a relative game, you just need to be clever in taking the right decisions that bring the optimum amount of performance.”
Mercedes need to “get the platform right”
Red Bull’s pace during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday was fully revealed as Max Verstappen pushed Sergio Perez for a victory that ultimately went to the Mexican driver.
Despite still being an anomalous circuit in some respects, it is clear the pace of the RB19 is “half a second per lap” ahead of its nearest rival, according to Wolff, which in Baku was Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
Despite the chasm, Wolff is confident it can be closed over the course of the campaign, and that Mercedes will again net a win at some stage, as it did last year in the penultimate race in São Paulo.
He said: “If we get the platform right, it is less about adding 10 points of downforce, and more about giving the drivers a car that when they turn the wheel into the corner they actually know the rear doesn’t overtake them. That’s the problem.
“Then we can catch up, as we did last year.”
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