‘Doesn’t correlate with reality’: Toto Wolff warns Mercedes about 2023 car

Mercedes have had a rough time of it this season.

Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, has advised caution from his team while designing the W14 amid the continued frustrations being caused by the W13.

The new technical regulations introduced this year saw the return of ground effect aerodynamics and, as such, different aerodynamic concepts were necessitated.

Everyone was trying to figure out which direction was the best to go in due to the unprecedented era the sport was going into, and Mercedes landed upon some unique sidepods.

They all but entirely did away with the sidepods altogether, with small slot gaps appearing in the sides of the car.

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However, this has caused aerodynamic turbulence, which has in turn resulted in the floor of the car making heavy contact with the track surface, a phenomenon otherwise known as “porpoising.”

This became bouncing when they eventually lowered the car having solved their aerodynamic issues, and it has been affecting their performance gravely.

Neither Sir Lewis Hamilton nor George Russell have won a race yet in 2022, and the Belgian Grand Prix was synonymous of what has been an infuriatingly inconsistent year for them.

Hamilton was 1.8 seconds off the qualifying pace set by Max Verstappen on Saturday, with Russell 2.1 behind, and that came after the 24-year-old had taken pole position at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

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The cooler temperatures were not helping, but Ferrari and Red Bull have designed cars that work well in all conditions.

The seven-time champion retired from the race after contact on the opening lap with Fernando Alonso, while Russell ended the race P4 behind Carlos Sainz, as Verstappen and Sergio Perez took a dominant one-two finish.

Wolff half-joked that the W13 car is not going to take pride of place in the Mercedes-Benz Museum.

“That car I don’t think is going to have the highest place in the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, maybe it’s going to go in the caves,” he said.

The Austrian affirmed that, heading into next season, it is not a simple case of changing everything and going with a completely new design, as there is no guarantee that would work either.

“It’s a very difficult situation because we obviously have a certain concept of a car, it’s not like we can experiment a lot this year and simply dial stuff out and test,” added Wolff.

“So whatever we decide for next year needs to be carefully evaluated because clearly, our data doesn’t give us the results, doesn’t correlate with the reality, and we have massive swings in performance that we can’t really get on top of.

READ: ‘That is no consolation’: Toto Wolff left fuming after Mercedes’ latest woes

“In this very moment to take a decision for next year, whatever it may be, changing the concept dramatically, how can we be sure that that’s the better direction to go because clearly, we will be starting way back?

“Now that is going to be part of the decisions – the discussions we’ve had already – in the upcoming few weeks of what do we want to do about it.”

Mercedes are third in the Constructors’ Standings, now 149 points adrift of leaders Red Bull.