Mercedes Admits Aerodynamic Concept Fails, Wolff Pursues New Path
Mercedes’ hopes of continued success in Formula One have been dealt a blow as team principal Toto Wolff admits that their current aerodynamic concept is unlikely to be successful.
Toto Wolff, the team principal of Mercedes, has conceded that their present aerodynamic approach is unlikely to be successful.
After a challenging 2022 season, the Brackley team opted to retain their slim sidepod concept for this year’s championship. However, indications from the initial qualifying session of the 2023 season hint that this strategy has not yielded the desired outcome. Despite three substandard practice sessions, both Russell and Hamilton could only secure the sixth and seventh spots, respectively, in another disappointing evening. In Wolff’s view, the existing configuration of the W14 is inadequate for achieving favorable outcomes.
The Austrian remarked, “In my opinion, this setup won’t ultimately be competitive. We put forth our best effort during the offseason, but it’s now time to regroup and collaborate with our engineers who are open-minded and don’t cling to any particular approach. We need to determine the developmental path we should follow to attain race-winning competitiveness.”
Wolff acknowledged that achieving success this year won’t be as straightforward as last year, where multiple podiums led to victory. He believes that the team can still win races this season, but the focus needs to be on the long-term solutions and the necessary decisions that need to be made.
Wolff declined to hold technical director Mike Elliott responsible for persisting with the team’s bold design and emphasized that the team will work together to overcome their issues. He stated, “In our team, we attribute the problem rather than blaming an individual. As the leader, I bear the responsibility, and if necessary, I must hold myself accountable. We possess all the essential elements required for success – a skilled workforce and a robust infrastructure that has secured eight consecutive championships.”
“We made a mistake last year by believing that retaining the same car concept would rectify our issues, but it didn’t yield the desired outcome. We must now concentrate on identifying the correct direction and determining what’s lacking. Hence, the data gathered this weekend is critical,” Wolff stated.
“We have examined the GPS data, which has pinpointed where we are underperforming and where we are doing well. We must now determine the specific cause of these outcomes and decide whether it requires substantial modifications such as fitting larger sidepods or subtle tweaks to improve performance. We are ready to explore new paths to overcome our challenges,” Wolff confirmed.
In the qualifying session, Russell and Hamilton fell short of the pole position by six tenths of a second behind Max Verstappen. The Red Bull driver will start the race on Sunday from the front row alongside his teammate Sergio Perez, who performed impressively in qualifying.
Mercedes Admits Aerodynamic Concept Fails, Wolff Pursues Mercedes Admits Aerodynamic Concept Fails, Wolff Pursues Mercedes Admits Aerodynamic Concept Fails, Wolff Pursues Mercedes Admits Aerodynamic Concept Fails, Wolff Pursues
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