Ralf Schumacher expects ‘personnel consequences’ at Mercedes thanks to poor W14

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton nose change for the W14. Bahrain February 2023

Lewis Hamilton nose change for the W14. Bahrain February 2023

As Mercedes plot an overhaul of the W14, Ralf Schumacher believes there’ll also have to be changes in the team’s technical department after they got the car’s concept “wrong”.

Having stated at the Bahrain Grand Prix that Mercedes could not win with the W14 as it is, motorsport boss Toto Wolff doubled down on that at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Admitting the Brackley squad had been “proven wrong” in their design philosophy, he added: “And you can see that the two quickest cars, including the Ferraris – the three quickest cars – that have a similar concept of how they generate performance, and it’s very different to ours. Simply, we got it wrong.”

Biting the bullet, Mercedes have revealed they’re considering all aspects of the car from the floor to the shape of the car to the much-talked about zero-pods.

Schumacher, however, believes personnel changes also need to be made as someone led Wolff astray.

“You could see from team boss Toto Wolff’s reaction that he felt a big fool,” the former F1 driver told Auto Bild.

“I personally found his clear words very good. He’ll surely bite his ass for believing the engineers who were keen to stick to the car concept, which is wildly different from that of class-leading Red Bull or Aston Martin.”

“Now he knows that concept was wrong,” Schumacher said, adding: “So I think there will be personnel consequences at Mercedes.’

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The German has previously questioned Mike Elliott’s position within the team telling Formel1.de that “with a technical director who believes that a concept works and pulls for it so hard, you can’t change your mind overnight.

“So that I think it’s problematic. That would be my feeling that something is changing.”

But it seems Elliott, like the rest of Mercedes, is open to change.

Speaking after the Jeddah race, the Briton said: “I think after Bahrain we had to accept we weren’t where we wanted to be, so we had to look at all the things that make up our car and work out what could we be doing differently, how could we get more performance because there is a significant gap for us to catch up to the front.

“So, the engineers are busy looking at aerodynamics, they are looking at the shape of the car, things like the sidepod geometry, the floor geometry, have we missed a trick?

“But we are also looking in the simulation world; are we targeting the right things, are we pushing the aerodynamics in the right direction, looking at the mechanical setup of the car.

“Are there things there that we are missing? What else can we bring to the car that is going to add performance and we try to do that as fast as we possibly can because we want to get back to the front, we want to be competing at the front and the only way we are going to do that is by accepting we are not in the position we want to be and fighting and working really hard to get back there.”