Toto Wolff outlines main focus for Mercedes as season second half beckons

Thomas Maher
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff at the British Grand Prix. Silverstone, July 2023. F1 news

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff.

Toto Wolff has detailed the ‘frustrating process’ facing Mercedes heading into the second half of the 2023 season.

With Mercedes locked in battle with Ferrari, Aston Martin, and recently, McLaren, to be second in the championship behind Red Bull, Toto Wolff has said there are positives and negatives to learn from the first half of the season.

Looking back over the first 12 races of the year, Wolff said that recent upgrades have allowed his team to “comprehend the car better” after a poor start in Bahrain, and identified the areas he feels Mercedes need improving in order to start closing the gap to the very front of the sport.

Toto Wolff: There are positives to take from recent races

While Mercedes’ pace wasn’t fantastic last time out at Spa-Francorchamps, the W14 has been there or thereabouts to challenge for the podium at most races since the roll-out of their major upgrades began at the Monaco Grand Prix.

“The race for P2 is really tight between Aston Martin, Ferrari, McLaren, and ourselves,” Wolff said in a mid-season review released by Mercedes.

“Now it’s really focusing on what we need in order to be winning championships again.

“The positives are that we clearly see some development route that functions, we understand where we need to add performance.

“It’s a frustrating process because it takes time to change a car, fundamentally, in the concept, in aerodynamics, but there’s definitely light at the end of the tunnel.” recommends

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With some small upgrades still on the way for the W14, what are the main areas of focus for Mercedes?

“I think the main areas of improvement are just to give the drivers a more reliable car,” Wolff continued.

“It’s not about the absolute amount of downforce, but it’s just for them to know that the car is going to be stable when they turn into the corner, which isn’t the case at the moment.

“Both drivers did a really good job in coping with the ups and downs and the drivability of the car, very professional, always looking forward to how we can increase the performance of the overall chassis.”

But while upgrades are on the way, they will be far less significant in nature than the concept change introduced in Monte Carlo, and Wolff said there is still plenty of learning and fettling to be done to unlock the ultimate potential of the W14 before applying the lessons learned onto next year’s car.

“The sails are set for 2024,” he said.

“Now, with the car development almost stopped for this year, I find it good because there’s so much we can optimise on the current car without looking too much into upgrades. Let’s see how we can really get it into more of a sweet spot, whilst gaining lots of understanding for next year.”

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