Toto Wolff reveals extent of Mercedes’ Imola upgrades for ‘poisonous’ W14

Michelle Foster
Mercedes W14 front wing display. Azerbaijan April 2023

Mercedes W14 front wing display. Azerbaijan April 2023

Mercedes’ “poisonous” W14 will feature new suspension parts, bodywork and other things when it takes to the track at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

But whether the bodywork alterations will include revised sidepods, Toto Wolff isn’t saying.

Mercedes’ zero-pod W14 had an unpredictable weekend at the Miami Grand Prix where the team went from 1-2 in Friday’s first practice to avoiding a double Q2 elimination on the Saturday by a mere 0.052s.

The team bounced back to record a double points-finish in the grand prix where George Russell was fourth and Lewis Hamilton P6. But that was of little comfort for Mercedes with Russell 33s behind race winner Max Verstappen and Hamilton a further 18s down the road.

Mercedes are hoping to negate some of that deficit when they introduce a barrage of upgrades at the next race at Imola. recommends

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“We need to manage our own expectations, because we’re bringing an update package that’s going to consist of new suspension parts, bodywork and some other things,” Wolff said.

“But I have never in my 15 years in F1 seen a silver bullet being introduced, where suddenly you unlock half a second of performance. So, I very much doubt that this is going to happen here.”

“But,” he added, “what I’m looking forward to is that we take certain variables off the table, where we believe we could have introduced something that we don’t understand in the car.

“[I am hoping] we can go more to a stable platform, and then we should see where the baseline is and what we can do from there.”

Declaring the upgrade to be a “large surgery” on what he calls a “poisonous” car, Wolff says the intention is to increase the car’s downforce and working window.

“I think we are chasing downforce and we’re trying to do the best possible job in terms of the mechanical platform,” said the Austrian.

“What we’re doing is we’re introducing a new bodywork, and we’re introducing a new floor and we’re doing a new front suspension and that’s pretty large.

“That’s a pretty large operation. Large surgery. It’s going to be a lot of learning in the virtual world, where it is good lap time.

“That’s why the upgrade that we’re bringing is going to help us to set the direction, and to understand the various areas that we believe could play a role in why the car is so poisonous to drive.”

Hamilton spoke of the forthcoming upgrade after the Miami Grand Prix, the seven-time grand prix winner telling Sky Sports: “Well, it’s a bit of an unknown. It’s not like I have a one-second upgrade coming, which is what I need.

“But it’s something. It’s a step in the right direction, hopefully, for us to really be able to progress.”