Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said we can expect the team’s pit stops to be stronger in F1 2024 after an initially “very conservative” approach to the regulations.
F1 2024 represents a crucial season for Mercedes as they chase a return to title-contending ways, now free of their ‘zero-pod’ concept which proved unsuccessful in 2022 and then hampered their 2023 after deciding at the season-opener that they needed a different route.
Mercedes have gone back to the drawing board for the W15, but it is not only lap time where performance-related focus has gone into this challenger.
‘Watch this space’ on Mercedes pit stops
As well as blitzing their way to consecutive title doubles in 2023, Red Bull also claimed the DHL pit-stop award for the sixth season running, while it was McLaren who set a new world record for the fastest F1 pit stop of all-time, servicing Lando Norris’ MCL60 in 1.8 seconds at the Qatar Grand Prix.
Wolff though told the Telegraph that we should “watch this space” when it comes to Mercedes’ pit stops in F1 2024, the eight-time Constructors’ Champions having invested in ‘areas such as wheel-locking mechanisms and axle materials’ to nail this crucial area for F1 success.
“I think the regulations, how they were laid out a few years ago, we interpreted them in a very conservative way,” Wolff detailed.
“And we’ve seen other teams doing it differently. So watch this space. I think it’s going to be very different.”
Of course, snazzy pit stops have a limited impact if the car performance is not there, but Wolff had positive news to share on that front too when it comes to the W15.
After the struggles of the past two seasons, Mercedes recording their first winless campaign since 2011 last year, Wolff understandably is keeping any optimism in check looking ahead to F1 2024, but he did just receive a very positive update from simulator driver Anthony Davidson.
The W15 was being put through its paces virtually by Davidson, who reported that for the first time since Formula 1’s regulation change, it felt like Mercedes had an actual F1 car at their disposal.
“He was driving Melbourne [in the sim],” said Wolff of Davidson.
“And he said: ‘The car feels like a car for the first time in two years…’”
Lewis Hamilton will be hoping that he has a much-improved challenger at his disposal for F1 2024 in the Mercedes W15, as he continues to chase a record-breaking eighth World title.