Toto Wolff: Don’t expect anything ‘drastic’ from Mercedes’ Austin upgrade

Henry Valantine
Toto Wolff being interviewed in the media pen. Sakhir March 2022.

Toto Wolff being interviewed in the media pen at the Bahrain Grand Prix. Sakhir March 2022.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has played down expectations surrounding the team’s upgrade package they are taking to Austin this weekend.

Mercedes confirmed they will be fitting their final improvements to the W13 at the Circuit of The Americas as they begin to turn their attention to their 2023 challenger, with second place in the Constructors’ Championship now looking an unlikely prospect – Ferrari having moved 67 points ahead of the reigning champions with four races to go.

Mercedes had been gradually reeling in Ferrari towards the end of the European season, but a net 31-point loss to the Scuderia in Singapore left them with a significant hill to climb on that front.

Perhaps more pressing though is the continued gap they face to Ferrari and Red Bull, which has plagued them all season.

Barring a surprise result or upturn in pace, Wolff’s team face a real possibility of having a first winless season since 2011 – and the team boss is not expecting their upgrade in Austin to help them leapfrog the two front-running teams.

“The double-header in Singapore and Japan was a frustrating one for the team as we didn’t put ourselves in the clean air we needed to maximise the race pace of the car,” Wolff said ahead of the Austin weekend.

“We want to end this season strongly and the results of the last two races only make us more determined to do so.

“We need to use the limited track time available to make strides forward for this season and generate as much learning as we can in the development race for 2023 – those two aims are one and the same.

“Our final update package of the year will be brought to Austin. It won’t drastically change our fortunes but we are hopeful it will bring us a step forward and closer to the front-runners.

“Austin is a great city we all love visiting. The Circuit of The Americas is a challenging track that often produces great racing, so we are excited to be back this year and hopefully put on a great show for the fans.”

Austin will mark a decade of hosting Formula 1 at the weekend, having been a part of the calendar since the 2012 season – with current Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton coming out on top against Sebastian Vettel in COTA’s inaugural race.

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