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Mercedes W15 Performance Issues F1 2024

Wolff: ‘100% Sure We’ll Bridge the Gap

11/03/2024

Mercedes F1 continues grappling with the W15’s challenges, as Toto Wolff reveals ongoing high-speed cornering discrepancies and vows for a strong Melbourne comeback.

Mercedes F1 has yet to fully resolve its understanding and correlation issues with the W15. For two years, the team has struggled to align its real-world data, and the 2024 car still presents discrepancies in high-speed corners, as team principal Toto Wolff explains.

“There’s something we’re not grasping,” admits the Austrian. “We’re fast elsewhere. We know we have a smaller rear wing, and we compensate for what we lose in corners. Yet, it’s at high speeds where we’re losing the most lap time.”

“I believe it’s a significant point. There’s not much that can be adjusted. Our simulations point us in one direction, and that’s the setup we go for, where you straighten the rear wing more.”

“I think you might gain or lose a few tenths depending on whether you have the right or wrong settings, but there’s no huge performance gap. It’s more a fundamental issue; we think the speed should be there. We measure the aerodynamic downforce but can’t find it in the lap time.”

“We’re coming back to Melbourne stronger.”

Wolff is confident that with a more predictable W15, Mercedes will solve this understanding issue: “For two years, there’s been something we need to pinpoint, and that’s what we have to unlock. We need to work. It’s not for lack of trying.”

“We’ve put in a lot of effort and will go all out next week, with more data to understand. We’re coming back to Melbourne stronger. We’re on a mission with this. And I’m 100% sure we’ll close this performance gap.”

And the Austrian explains why he believes Mercedes will perform better than in 2022 and 2023: “I have a different confidence in the team this time because, at some point, you tick all the unknowns’ boxes, and where we stand today is pretty clear.”

“I feel we’ll eventually get there. Is it enough to beat Max in a Red Bull? No, it’s not, but at least it will allow us to fight for podiums and be competitive. Yes, I’m 100% sure we’ll make it.”

“It’s not for lack of trying” or “motivation”

He certainly rejects the idea that his team was overconfident: “This team wasn’t overconfident; we’re probably the opposite, seeing the glass as half empty. This attitude remains, but it’s also what helps us address it.”

Wolff assures, however, he refuses to blame the people working at Mercedes F1. He doesn’t question the motivation and dedication of his teams, focusing on the purely technical problem.

“I’ve shifted my mindset. I don’t think added pressure on us all makes things better. I think we have a physical problem, and it’s not for lack of trying or having the right mindset, motivation, or energy. Everything’s there, and I can see the buzz within the organization.”

“As racers, when you get such results, you feel down, but we try to change that by giving you the right motivation for the week ahead. That’s why we must believe that we can turn things around, believe that our organization can pull through, and I’m 100% sure we can do it.”

Mercedes W15 Performance Issues F1 2024. Mercedes W15 Performance Issues F1 2024.

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