Toto Wolff has warned that the Montreal circuit is not one that will suit the W14 despite their upturn in performance in Spain.
Mercedes’ 2023 season seemed to have reached a turning point in Barcelona with the newly designed W14 powering the team to their first double podium finish since the 2022 Sao Paulo race.
But even in the aftermath, team principal and CEO Wolff was careful not to get to carried away, insisting the Barcelona track was one that favoured the characteristics of their car.
It is a line of thinking that he has continued with as the team head to the second North American stop on the calendar and said the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is not a track that will bring the best out of the W14.
“The result in Spain was a well-deserved reward for everyone’s efforts at Brackley and Brixworth to bring our update package to the track,” Wolff said. “We were pleased with how it performed, and it will provide a new baseline for us to build from.
“But we must also manage our expectations. It was a circuit that suited our car, and we should expect our direct competitors to be stronger in the next races. The gap to Red Bull is large and it will take lots of hard work to close that down. Nevertheless, we’re up for the challenge.
“We now move on to Montreal. With its long straights and low-speed corners, it’s not a track that we expect to suit our car as well as Barcelona did. No matter where the true pace of the car is this weekend, we will aim to maximise our result. The characteristics of the circuit will also provide further opportunity to learn about the W14 and feed into our development path.”
Wolff also took time to praise Mick Schumacher who got his first experience behind the wheel of the W14 as he took part in a Pirelli tyre test. Wolff described the former Haas driver as “a valuable member of the team already.”
“Following the Grand Prix in Spain, Mick got his first opportunity to drive the W14,” Wolff said. “He settled in well during the Pirelli tyre test and enjoyed the experience. Mick has become a valuable member of the team already and his work in the simulator has proved useful in finding lap time, as we saw in Barcelona.”
Mercedes are second in the Constructors’ standings, 135 points behind leaders Red Bull.