Mercedes explain why ‘buzz is back’ after two years of ‘getting it wrong’

Thomas Maher
Toto Wolff pictured alongside the launch image of Mercedes 2024 F1 car, the W15.

Toto Wolff said at the launch of Mercedes' W15 that the buzz has returned at Brackley.

Mercedes’ Toto Wolff has said the feeling within his team is very different from the last two years when they ‘got it wrong’ with the new regulations.

Mercedes launched their new 2024 F1 car, the W15, at Silverstone on Wednesday morning – the new car marking a complete reset for the Brackley-based squad after setting off in the wrong concept direction with the 2022 and ’23 cars.

Having identified a new direction to take for 2024, Wolff said he’s hopeful the new car will right some of the wrongs of the past two years and that the feeling within the team has changed over the winter.

Toto Wolff outlines aim for Mercedes in 2024

Speaking at the launch of the Mercedes W15, the Austrian said he’s aiming to be able to bring Mercedes back to a position of fighting against every team and perhaps join in against Red Bull at the very top.

“We got it wrong with the new regulations [in 2022],” he admitted.

“But, when we look back in 10 years or longer, you’re going to read that we finished first eight times in a row and then third and second in the Constructors’.

“It will look like it was a respectable result and wasn’t so bad. But this is not counting another team and another driver winning most of the races.

“So we aim to consolidate our positions towards Ferrari and McLaren, sometimes Aston Martin, and be at the forward part of that group while, at the same time, trying to race at the very front – this is our aim, we’re determined to do so.

“At the same time, we know how difficult it is because you’re a step behind your main competitor who has gotten it right straight from the get-go but we love the challenge and this is why we are so eager and all of us so eager to see the car finally driving.”

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Asked about how best to overcome the struggles of the past two years, Wolff revealed a diligent approach has been taken in order to try stamping out what had gone wrong with the development of the W13 and W14.

“I think the most important [thing] is that you look inward,” he said.

“What is it that we got wrong? Why did the virtual world not correlate with the real world?

“I think we found some clues – we went in this direction, and we tried to eliminate as many as possible variables.

“The buzz that is in the company is something that I haven’t seen for so many years.

“We know it’s difficult. We know it’s a big mountain to climb because if a team is far ahead like Red Bull was last year, that’s not easy, but we have a superb driver combination, hopefully, a fast car, the best people in the factory that are giving it all to succeed and I think there are very good ingredients to be back in the front again.”

With revolution in the air at Brackley, which Wolff is hopeful will return his team to the strength they had up until the new regulations introduced in 2022, the Mercedes team boss said it’s been an enjoyable winter back in the factory.

“It’s been amazing,” he said.

“I can’t remember all of us being so interested in finally starting the car up, firing it up and seeing how it is, and realising this is a complete relaunch of a car that is very different.

“Not only on the aerodynamic surfaces, but mainly underneath there are so many mechanical changes that we have done which we hope are going to translate into more performance and more predictability, a car that the drivers can really push and we shall see next week in Bahrain.

“The target is to do a good job and try to have a car on track that is predictable with lots of downforce, a strong engine, and just do a solid job to deliver on our targets.

“That is what we would like to achieve – to give a car to Lewis and George that they enjoy driving and not as difficult as the previous years.”

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