Toto Wolff hopes the new FIA Technical Directive aimed at policing flexi-wings more tightly will bring the field closer, and Red Bull “half a second slower” – though he is not holding out hope.
The move from the FIA, named TD018, will see the cars policed more tightly surrounding front and rear wing elements’ flexibility to gain aerodynamic performance.
This will adversely affect teams that have been exploiting the previous loophole in the regulations, with the TD set to be enforced properly at the Singapore Grand Prix.
Toto Wolff: ‘If a Red Bull is half a second slower, that would be nice’
Additional reporting by Thomas Maher
With the potential impact of the rule change currently unknown, the Mercedes team principal will “wait and see” how it impacts the rest of the field.
If the all-conquering Red Bull team could be brought closer to the rest of the pack, he would naturally be happy with that outcome, but he is not expecting that to happen.
“It’s going to be interesting, I think, with the Aston Martin, you’ve seen that they made a step backwards with the wings moving less or whatever,” Wolff told media including PlanetF1.com at Monza when asked about the potential impact of the TD.
“I don’t know, let’s wait and see. I don’t know who is exploiting that to more [of a] degree, not a bigger degree than others.
“But if maybe a Red Bull is half a second slower or something, that would be nice, but I don’t think it will be the case.”
But in the here and now, Mercedes still have a performance gap to make up to Red Bull, and Wolff has looked at engine customers McLaren and Aston Martin for the steps that can be made in quick succession.
Aston Martin began the season closest to Red Bull in terms of performance having been in the lower midfield last season, while McLaren brought a raft of mid-season upgrades that have catapulted them forwards.
With that, Wolff hopes Mercedes are able to do something similar in future.
“I think where we are, we just need to we just need a step that McLaren and Aston Martin have achieved in one go,” Wolff explained.
“You know, not making a two-tenths update, but a five-tenths update also and then you’re back into the game. So yeah, I think it’s possible.”
Regarding what steps Mercedes will be able to take in future, Wolff said the team are looking at a number of options – reiterating his belief that there is no “silver bullet” in Formula 1, and the team needs to focus on putting everything together to help their drivers.
“I think we have a few directions,” Wolff responded when asked if Mercedes had a specific area of focus where they’re looking to improve.
“If we would know it would be much easier, but the car is just very unpredictable and lacks grip, so plenty of things which we need to tackle.
“We tend to believe in Formula 1 that there’s a silver bullet that’s going to unlock everything – I think we just need to put components together to make them work together in the car, so there’s not one topic that I would call out.”