Toto Wolff addresses budget cap breach

The Silver Arrows have acknowledged ongoing developments are needed to ensure they are a strong title contender next season.

Mercedes has expressed confidence in the recent upgrade package for its W14 car, which has shown promising results in closing the gap to the front of the grid. 

However, the team acknowledged that significant changes are still required for its next-generation challenger, the W15, as certain aspects of the current car are far from perfect.

In the cost cap era of Formula 1, implementing substantial improvements poses challenges for teams, as they must carefully balance development expenses within the strict financial limits. 

Nevertheless, Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff has revealed that the squad has conducted a thorough analysis of its financial operations and is on track to meet its objectives for the W15 without exceeding budgetary constraints.

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“Our financial department comprises a dedicated team of 46 individuals who monitor the cost cap meticulously, down to the last detail,” Wolff explained. 

“We have allocated resources to various projects and have remained below the defined spending threshold throughout last year and this year. 

“Considering the anticipated transition for next year, we are still well within our planned trajectory.”

Wolff emphasised that Mercedes is continuously learning about the behaviour of its car, and while fundamental design changes are in the pipeline for the W15, the focus is more on simulation and performance evaluation rather than extravagant expenditures. 

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The success of such endeavours is not measured solely in financial terms but rather in factors like teraflops of computational power and wind tunnel testing hours.

Despite the positive performance gains achieved with the W14 upgrades, Mercedes acknowledges that certain areas still require attention. 

After the Canadian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton highlighted the challenges posed by troublesome characteristics, particularly the weak rear end, which has proven difficult to handle during the 2023 season.

“We struggle, especially in lower-speed corners, where I was losing out to Fernando [Alonso] and Max [Verstappen], primarily due to traction exiting Turn 2 and virtually every corner,” Hamilton explained in Montreal. 

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“We need to work on adding more rear downforce and enhancing overall efficiency. However, we are making incremental progress.”

When asked about the differences felt with the W14 upgrades, Hamilton noted that while some elements of the car exhibited changes, the overall characteristics remained quite similar to the beginning of the season. 

He emphasised the need to address various aspects of the car for next year’s challenger, as the current W14 is not yet capable of rivalling the dominant Red Bull. Mercedes is fully committed to refining their performance and closing the gap to their main competitors.