Mercedes set to perform surgery to remove ‘poison’ from W14
By Ian Parkes
Wednesday 10th May, 2023 - 8:03pm
Toto Wolff has described the raft of updates being applied to its “poisonous” W14 for the next race in Imola as being akin to the car undergoing major surgery.
Despite almost effectively writing off the season after the opening qualifying session in Bahrain in March, Mercedes has since discovered a developmental direction with the car it hopes will at least provide a platform for additional elements.
For the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the W14 will sport a new front suspension and associated bodywork, along with a new floor, leading to what seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton has suggested is ‘a new path’ for the team given its previous missteps.
Wolff has no doubt the car, which over the Miami GP weekend he called “a nasty piece of work”, will be an improvement, but he is naturally cautious to ensure hopes of a major revival are not raised to unreachable levels.
“We need to manage our own expectations because we’re bringing an update package that’s going to consist of new suspension parts, bodywork, and some other things,’ said Wolff.
“But I have never in my 15 years in Formula 1 seen a silver bullet being introduced where suddenly you unlock half a second in performance, so I very much doubt this is going to happen here.
“What I’m looking forward to is that we take certain variables off the table where we believe we could have introduced something that we don’t understand in the car, and to go more to, let’s say, a stable platform.
“And then we shall see where the baseline is and what we can do from there.”
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As to the exact nature of those variables that will be removed, and what he is specifically aiming for from the upgrade, Wolff added: “We are chasing downforce, and we’re trying to do the best possible job in terms of the mechanical platform.
“So what we’re doing is we’re introducing a new bodywork, new floor, new front suspension.
“That’s a large operation, large surgery. There’s going to be a lot of learning. In the virtual world, it is good lap time.”
Wolff will be hoping the upgrade will at least make inroads into Red Bull’s searing pace advantage at present, which was further underlined during a dominant one-two performance in Miami spearheaded by reigning two-time champion Max Verstappen.
Crucially, it will also steer the thinking when it comes to the development of next year’s W15.
“That’s why the upgrade we are bringing is going to help us set the direction, to understand the various areas we believe play a role as to why the car is so poisonous to drive or not,” explained Wolff
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