Toto Wolff, the team principal of Mercedes, has acknowledged that the team’s car design is insufficient to compete for the championship this year. Despite qualifying at sixth and seventh place for the opening race of the 2023 season in Bahrain, Mercedes has fallen behind relative to its main rivals. Since last year’s introduction of new technical regulations, Mercedes has pursued a unique car design with narrow sidepods, which no other team has imitated. Wolff admits that the team now needs to rethink its development approach to consistently win races.
“We gave it our best go over the winter and now we need to regroup, sit down with the engineers, and decide what is the development direction that we want to pursue in order to be competitive to win races,” Wolff said. He added that a major upgrade was planned for later in the season, but it was unlikely to be enough to enable Mercedes to challenge for the title this year.
The GPS data showed that Mercedes is at par with the fastest cars in low-speed corners, but it is losing performance in high-speed corners, leading to Wolff’s belief that the car concept needs to change. He accepts that the team got it wrong last year by sticking to the current design and now it is crucial to switch to the right direction to be competitive. “Definitely within the group, we will embark on untrodden paths,” Wolff said.