Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says his team has established a plan of attack to significantly improve its 2023 car, insisting the latter “will look very different” by the early summer.
Following its depressing start – by Mercedes’ standards – to its campaign, the Brackley squad has recognized that only a change of concept will instill performance into its troubled W14 black arrow.
The team has therefore established a comprehensive plan to transform its car that will unfold over the coming months and will hopefully produce a competitive racing car by the start of the summer.
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“I think that the car is going to look very different in five, six or seven races based on the decisions that we have taken and the development direction that we have embarked on,” Wolff told Sky F1 on Saturday.
“The moment we decide, which we’ve done, which direction to go, where we want to have the car, we’re just getting on with it and pushing hard with that one design philosophy.”
However, Wolff recognizes that executing a significant upgrade programme while contending with F1’s mandatory cost cap won’t be an easy task.
“We all voted for the cost cap to kick in with the aim of establishing a more level playing field,” he added.
“We were bitten by that, that’s clear at this stage, but I don’t want to ever say that the cost cap doesn’t allow us to catch back up – it’s more difficult but we simply have to.”
Since pre-season testing, Mercedes has been attentive to the performance of Aston Martin’s remarkable AMR23, not only to gauge the pace of a team that is now a genuine top midfield contender but especially because Aston’s car uses the same rear-end elements as Mercedes’ design.
“Why it helps us, they have the whole rear end from our car, the suspension, the engines, the gearbox – all of that,” Wolff explained.
“So we know there are areas that are really good, that we mustn’t question too much,” Wolff said.
“But it’s other areas where the cars are fundamentally different where we need to set our focus – there is a lot to learn.
“Lawrence [Stroll] has gone through so many difficult years, and now the team is on the up, they’re successful, so it’s for us to learn and not the other way around as it was for many years.”
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