Mercedes have produced a disappointing begin to the 2023 Formula 1 season just after seeing their eight-year constructors’ title streak finish in 2022 Watch Saudi Arabian GP final practice reside on Saturday at 1.30pm on Sky Sports F1
ten:46, UK, Saturday 18 March 2023
Toto Wolff says Mercedes’ W14 vehicle will appear “quite distinctive” in 5-to-seven races’ time just after confirming the group is now focused on “1 style philosophy”.
Right after getting caught out by the introduction of new style regulations final season and seeing their streak of eight successive constructors’ titles ended by Red Bull, Mercedes opted to stick with the very same style philosophy for the 2023 Formula 1 season.
Even so, a poor overall performance at the season-opening Grand Prix in Bahrain earlier in March led to Wolff admitting the group had got it incorrect, and would be taking a distinctive path, with speculation swirling more than an alternate ‘Plan B’ vehicle style.
Speaking exclusively to Sky Sports F1’s Rachel Brookes just after Friday practice at this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Wolff supplied an update on the team’s plans for the coming weeks.
He stated: “The query is what do you imply by a Program B vehicle?
Karun Chandhok requires a close appear at Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes ahead of practice at the Saudi Arabia GP
“I consider that the vehicle is going to appear quite distinctive in 5, six or seven races primarily based on the choices that we have taken and the improvement path that we have embarked on.”
In addition to coming unstuck below the radical new 2022 regulations, Wolff says Mercedes’ capability to recover from their errors has been decreased by the sport’s price cap, which was implemented in 2021.
“We all voted for the price cap to kick in with the aim of establishing a much more level playing field,” Wolff stated.
George Russell and Lewis Hamilton say they are hoping to ‘maximise’ their overall performance just after yet another tough day in practice at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
“We had been bitten by that, that is clear at this stage, but I never want to ever say that the price cap does not let us to catch back up – it is much more tough but we merely have to.
“The moment we choose, which we’ve completed, which path to go, exactly where we want to have the vehicle, we’re just finding on with it and pushing tough with that 1 style philosophy.”
‘Lauda would want us to copy style of other cars’
Neither Wolff nor Mercedes’ British driver pairing Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have supplied any detail on how the W14 will be altered, but the group boss appeared to hint that he believes moving towards the style of Red Bull’s pace-setting RB19 is the “easy” alternative.
Wolff was asked about what former Mercedes chairman and 3-time F1 globe champion Niki Lauda, who played a essential part in establishing the group as the sport’s dominant force prior to his death in 2019, would have advised in their present scenario.
Niki Lauda (L) was a massive component of Mercedes’ achievement prior to his death in 2019
“I miss him a lot, but I miss him as a buddy foremost,” Wolff stated. “We are all missing him as a chairman.
“For Niki it would have been quite easy, due to the fact simplicity is what brings you to the very best choice and I know precisely what he would have stated.
“‘Our vehicle appears quite distinctive, let’s make it like the other folks and optimise it. We have a excellent group, we have excellent technologies and infrastructure, we can do it substantially improved than the other folks, so why never we just get on with it?
“Items are quite easy normally. You can normally reduce all the nonsense out, and at the finish the easy choices in life, which are quite frequently instinctive choices added with each other with information that supports them, and this is how Niki operated. Do not overcomplicate issues, get the fundamentals ideal.”
‘There is a lot to discover from Aston Martin’
Whilst Mercedes anticipated to begin the season behind reigning globe champion Max Verstappen’s Red Bull, the reality they had been beaten by Aston Martin in Bahrain came as a big surprise.
Substantial components of Aston Martin’s vehicle, which took Fernando Alonso to third behind the Red Bulls in Bahrain, are supplied by Mercedes, generating their impressive early-season overall performance much more damning to Wolff’s squad.
Fernando Alonso overtook the Mercedes pair of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton prior to finding previous Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz to finish third at the Bahrain Grand Prix
Alonso’s second-spot finish in second practice in Saudi Arabia on Friday suggests Bahrain will not be a 1-off, but Wolff is attempting to take the positives and says he is content to see his buddy and Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll enjoying achievement.
“Why it assists us, they have the complete rear finish from our vehicle, the suspension, the engines, the gear box – all of that, so we know there are regions that are genuinely fantastic, that we mustn’t query also substantially,” Wolff stated.
“But it is other regions exactly where the vehicles are fundamentally distinctive exactly where we need to have to set our concentrate – there is a lot to discover.
“Lawrence has gone by means of so several tough years, and now the group is on the up, they are effective, so it is for us to discover and not the other way about as it was for several years.”
Formula 1 street racing is back! Watch the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix reside on Sky Sports F1 this weekend. Saturday’s qualifying and Sunday’s race are reside at 5pm. Get Sky Sports