Toto Wolff has given details about what exactly is expected be upgraded on the Mercedes W14 at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, with the team looking to make inroads into Red Bull’s advantage at the front.
After a disappointing start to the 2023 season, Mercedes team principal Wolff ordered significant changes to the car as the team lagged behind a dominant Red Bull RB19, along with the rest of the field.
Mercedes are in the chasing pack to be ‘best of the rest’ with Ferrari and Aston Martin as it stands, and while minor tweaks were made to the W14 in Azerbaijan, Wolff has long earmarked Formula 1’s return to Europe as when more significant upgrades will be placed on the car.
There is still the Miami Grand Prix to negotiate before Formula 1 heads to Imola on the weekend of 19-21 May, but the Mercedes team boss was asked about what will be changing on the car at that time – and he pointed out that, in the budget cap era of F1, expectations need to be managed.
“Yeah, the target is Imola,” Wolff said in response to Speedcafe about their upgrade package still being on track.
“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.
“If we were completely free, we would bring a different chassis, and so what we have to decide really carefully is what we want to upgrade.”
When asked about specifics, the Mercedes CEO revealed that significant parts of the W14 will be changing at Imola, and while he hopes he would have been able to do more, he aims for this upgrade set to work as much as possible.
“So we’re bringing a new front suspension, and then the aero upgrade that comes with it, and floor,” Wolff confirmed.
“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.”
When it comes to the wider performance of these upgrades, Wolff hopes to see Mercedes be able to offer Lewis Hamilton and George Russell a more stable “platform” on which to drive first and foremost.
From there, the team principal believes the drivers will be able to make a difference and help reel Red Bull in.
“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,” he stated.
“Then we can catch up, as we did last year.”