Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has confirmed that the team is planning to introduce changes to its car concept for the 2023 opener in Bahrain. This follows drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton coming in sixth and seventh place in qualifying. While Mercedes realised the limitations of the W14 in the wind tunnel even before testing, it’s expected that major car redesigns will take months. Wolff has now said that any major upgrades will not arrive before Imola, which is round six and will be held on 19-21 May.
Wolff has said that there will not be any “performance” added to the car over the next three races. Instead, the team will focus on optimising car set-up. Through Friday practice in the Australian Grand Prix, Russell and Hamilton were split on their preferred suspension configuration. However, Wolff is optimistic for the future and believes the “path is clear”, despite acknowledging that patience will be required.
Russell is hopeful that the coming car upgrades will result in an immediate pace boost, unlike the past improvements between the W13 to W14 over the off-season. He said that the team has been finding more gains in the last few weeks than throughout the whole winter, as they have been developing in the wrong window. The driver is optimistic that the changes are “heading in the right direction.”
While there were reports that Mercedes would introduce its first development package in time for Baku or Miami, Wolff has ruled out a hasty arrival for the new parts. Instead, he has said that the team wants to do it right and that any lasting changes to the W14 will not arrive before Imola. He added that while the initial forecast for the effectiveness of the upgrades was positive, onlookers should not expect a “miracle” from this first step. Wolff believes that the upgrades will consolidate Mercedes‘ place between Ferrari, Aston Martin, and themselves.