Even more W14 improvement in Austria? Toto Wolff delivers fresh hope

Jamie Woodhouse
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton during the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix, Saturday. June 2023.

Lewis Hamilton during the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix, Saturday. June 2023.

While Mercedes are not taking anything for granted, team boss Toto Wolff expects the Red Bull Ring to be a stronger battleground for the W14 than Montreal.

Mercedes went into the Canadian Grand Prix last time out looking to prove that their improved showing in Spain, armed with the upgraded W14, was not merely track specific.

And that was a mission which they succeeded in. Lewis Hamilton may have dropped a spot on the podium, P2 in Spain to P3 in Canada, but he once more narrowed the deficit to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, the dominant force of F1 2023.

Mercedes should perform better in Austria

The goal for Mercedes then is to keep taking these forward steps in a bid to ultimately take the fight to Red Bull, and Wolff is quietly confident that another step can be taken at the Red Bull Ring, home of the Austrian Grand Prix.

This is a home race for the Red Bull team, but also Wolff himself as an Austria native.

“There were plenty of positives to take from the last race in Canada,” he said. “Although we didn’t get both cars to the chequered flag, a podium was a solid result and we saw encouraging signs from our updated package.

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“Austria is always a special weekend, as it’s my home race and I have good memories from the track; both with the team but also from my early years racing there and teaching as an instructor. It’s also the second sprint of the season so it will be interesting to see the impact it has on the weekend, at a more traditional circuit.

“It’s a short lap in Spielberg and looks straightforward on paper; several long straights broken up by a range of slow, medium-speed and fast corners. But it’s a challenging one to put together and get right.

“We will aim to build on the momentum we have generated over the past two races and continue our positive trajectory with the car. It’s a venue where the W14 should perform better than in Canada, but we won’t take anything for granted. As always, we will be working hard to maximise our performance and deliver strong results.”

Mercedes go into the Austrian Grand Prix P2 in the Constructors’ Championship, yet already 154 points adrift of Red Bull who have won all eight grands prix so far in F1 2023.