Toto Wolff says although finishing second in the championship is a “respectable” result, if Red Bull win all the races that will take the shine off of it.
Building on last year’s success, Red Bull have gone on a charge this season with the team romping to 14 wins from 14 races, 12 of which have gone to Max Verstappen.
The Dutchman will line up on the Singapore Grand Prix grid on Sunday chasing a record 11th win on the trot while Red Bull could win the Constructors’ Championship if Mercedes don’t score a single point.
Toto Wolff wary of a Red Bull whitewash
But even if Mercedes can delay Red Bull’s celebrations, winning the title is a formality for the Milton Keynes squad as they hold a 310-point lead over Mercedes in the Constructors’ standings.
As such the best Mercedes can hope for this season is runner-up, a position they hold by 45 points ahead of Ferrari.
Wolff says that’s all good and well, and it would be a “respectable” achievement, but that it would lose its shine if Red Bull pulled off the season’s whitewash.
“We are giving it all and we are fighting to perform to the best of our abilities,” he said at the Marina Bay circuit.
“We are a step back. We’re second in the championship, which is respectable, but if another team wins all the races well that’s not good enough.”
‘Mercedes changing the car’s bones for next year’
But given that second is never Mercedes’ ambition, the team keen to regain the championship titles they lost to Red Bull, Wolff revealed there’ll be big changes to the car next season.
Although Mercedes did drop the zero-pods earlier this season while also revising their suspension layout, next year’s car will be fundamentally different it seems.
“I think the car that we put on track in 2022 is fundamentally… the bones are the same,” he said. “And we are going a little bit round in circles of how we can improve the car. It’s difficult.
“So we are working on changing those bones for next year.
“We see a lot of potential but you’re also starting in a position where you can’t really predict the outcome. But flat-out, this is this is the mindset at the moment.”
The team boss says Mercedes can draw inspiration from their engine customers Aston Martin, who over the winter made a huge leap forward, and McLaren, who even managed to do so with their in-season upgrades.
“I think they’re pretty good examples for all of us because Aston Martin from Abu Dhabi ’22 to the start of the season that probably came to two seconds. You know I’m making this number up but it was a massive step,” he said.
“And also McLaren were struggling with going out in Q1 and then they are fighting for pole positions and podiums from one race to the other.
“That is inspiring to see that there is potential in these cars that is there to be unlocked.”