Toto Wolff is eager to see what kind of performance Mercedes can unleash with a very different W15 in 2024.
Having been very transparent about the fact Mercedes pursued the wrong car concept with their W13/W14 during the first two years of the ground-effect regulations, the team is set for a revolutionary philosophy for 2024 with the all-new W15.
The car, which is set to be revealed to the world on February 14th, will be very different to the offering put together for 2023, even though Mercedes unlocked performance gains from the W14 throughout the season.
Toto Wolff: Mercedes are in a good place
Having spent two years trying to close the gap to Red Bull with what was dubbed the ‘zeropod’ concept (even though sidepods were added to the car in mid-2023), former technical director Mike Elliott handed over the reins to James Allison – a key architect in the team’s successes under the previous ruleset.
With plenty of lessons learned during their time with the inconsistent performance levels of the 2022 and ’23 cars, Toto Wolff believes his team is in a much stronger place heading into 2024.
“We have a gap to the leaders,” he explained to Sky F1.
“But the two teams, at Brixworth and Brackley, are so motivated. We have so many good things in the pipeline, so many new things, and, with all the learning we had, [we are] really in a good place to see what’s coming together.
“[We have] got to take the momentum now from the P2 in the championship and take the momentum to the factories.”
Toto Wolff: Our car had a fundamental problem
While Mercedes have changed their path for 2024, Red Bull’s new car is set to be evolutionary of the RB19. With their car performing closer to the ceiling of the performance possible under the regulations, team boss Christian Horner has been open about the “diminishing returns” his team is up against.
As a result, Wolff is hopeful that Red Bull’s development has already begun to plateau and will allow opportunities for pursuing teams like his to take the fight to the Milton Keynes-based squad.
“Let’s be honest, they [Red Bull] have a gap because they got well out of the blocks with the new regulations,” Wolff said.
“In order to catch up, that’s a monumental endeavour.
“At a certain stage, hopefully, they level off with their development speed and we can catch up. It’s not only adding a tenth of downforce or so, our car had a fundamental problem.
“It’s unstable, the drivers have no confidence in the car and, if we can dial that out, then I think we can make that step forward like other teams have done.”