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Mercedes F1 Wolff's Mixed Feelings on 2024 Prospects

Wolff Optimistic Despite Mercedes’ Correlation Woes

26/03/2024

Despite challenges, Toto Wolff remains hopeful for Mercedes F1’s potential in 2024, citing progress and unresolved correlation issues as key factors.

Toto Wolff is confident that Mercedes F1 has the potential to make progress this season, yet the team’s principal remains concerned. He finds hope in the fact that the team has already ruled out certain issues, but he still admits to correlation problems.

“When I look at the positives, I believe we’ve eliminated many potential causes from the equation,” Wolff stated. “We were unsure about our suspension, unsure about the stiffness of our gearbox mounting.”

“We had a steering rack that vibrated, and all these issues are gone, but fundamentally, what we see in the wind tunnel doesn’t match what’s happening on the track.”

“There’s not a single person saying, ‘I would interpret these data this way and because of dogmatism, we’re not making progress.’ I see no dogmatism, and I don’t see an open environment where people are sharing, where people are pointing out, maybe in my area, we’re making mistakes.”

“I don’t think we’re missing anything.”

Wolff is convinced that Mercedes lacks no flaw in its structure or means and that it can succeed. However, he is puzzled by the correlation issues.

“I’ve tackled difficult tasks in my career, in everything I’ve done before, be it in finance, in investments, but you know which screws to turn and you know it sometimes takes time. Because at Williams, I knew what was missing.”

“But here, I don’t think we’re missing anything. It’s just a complication of what’s happening with the car that we can’t see. It’s like a switch. And then you see the progress McLaren and Ferrari have made, and that’s the difference between last year and this year.”

“It was a very good weekend for us last year. I just saw a snippet because I’d forgotten the previous races where we were leading at the start of races 1 and 2. So, you know, we really need to dig deep because it’s brutally painful.”

“No answer” to McLaren and Ferrari

The Austrian sees some silver linings in the dark skies of Brackley but is also aware that despite positive performances, the gap to the competition is significant: “The car’s performance depends on certain fundamental elements and variables.”

“I think the variables include all the aerodynamic effects on the car, the mechanical adjustments we make. But fundamentally, the base performance is achieved in the factory. Then, we have a number of tools that can be adjusted on the track to either improve it or worsen it.”

While Wolff acknowledges that Mercedes has yet to solve the fundamental aspects, he reiterated his belief that the W15 has the potential to be a competitive race car.

“I had the feeling last weekend that there was a good car. I haven’t lost that feeling. Because there were sessions throughout the weekend, and also the last two, where we were absolutely at the top in terms of performance. And then we lose it again.”

“Third by a few tenths from everyone. In qualifying? Seventh. And then the race pace was never there this weekend. You could see that McLaren and Ferrari were already faster by seven or eight tenths on Friday and we had no answer to that.”

Mercedes F1: Wolff’s Mixed Feelings on 2024 Prospects. Mercedes F1: Wolff’s Mixed Feelings on 2024 Prospects

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