Toto Wolff has said Mercedes’ spending is being strictly monitored by a huge backroom team with questions raised about the aggressive nature of the W14’s development path.
At the Monaco Grand Prix, Mercedes introduced what was effectively a B-spec car after deciding to ditch their zero-pod philosophy following a distantly average opening display in the F1 2023 season opener.
The days of the big F1 teams throwing endless amounts of money at their problems until they go away are over thanks to F1’s cost cap era, so a change as radical as the one we saw from Mercedes in Monte Carlo did have some quarters suggesting that there would be no scope for further upgrades later down the line this year.
However, the noises from the Mercedes camp continue to be loud ones, with Toto Wolff confirming that more substantial upgrades will be introduced at the British Grand Prix next month.
But, while news about Mercedes’s continued upgrades are met with questions about their spending power, the Silver Arrows boss has said everything is under control and the team won’t fall foul of the financial regulations like their arch-rivals did during the F1 2022 season.
“We have set up a huge organisation in our financial department of 46 people, that monitors the cost cap down to the last screw,” Wolff confirmed.
“It follows the trend of spending during all of the year and what we’ve done is basically allocated resource to various projects.
“We stayed below that line all year last year, and we’ve stayed below that line this year. Considering a normal development switch for next year, this is still pretty much on track.
“The good thing is that we are constantly learning about what the car is doing. There are going to be some fundamental design changes for next year, but it’s not that we’re building stuff.
“It’s more what are we simulating and that is not measured in money. It’s teraflops or wind tunnel hours.”
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This confirmation from Wolff will not only be music to the ears of those fans desperate to see Red Bull knocked off their perch, but also a positive sign for Lewis Hamilton as he looks for reassurances ahead of putting pen to paper on a new Mercedes contract.
Hamilton still holds hopes of winning what would be a record-breaking eight World Championship title but, with Red Bull so far ahead and already switching attention to their F1 2024 challenger, Mercedes will have to continue to be relentless in bringing significant upgrades to their car.
All within the regulations, of course.