Toto Wolff cautions Lewis Hamilton and George Russell

Mercedes fired up the W14 for the first time just before the Christmas break.

The W13 was nothing short of a disaster for Mercedes, with the car being retired at the end of last season with only a single race win to its name.

The car design plan that Mercedes chose under the major regulation changes turned out to be the wrong one, leaving the team to struggle with a lack of pace and a major porpoising problem.

It took the Silver Arrows until after the summer break to solve the violent bouncing issue, leaving the W13 miles behind the cars of their rivals, who had been developing their package for the entirety of the year.

With the team’s late resurgence proving that Mercedes have figured out what went so desperately wrong for them at the start of 2022, excitement has started to build around the team as they finish the production of the W14 ahead of next months’ reveal.

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While those within the team have suggested that the W14 will be much more competitive than last year’s challenger, team principal Toto Wolff has urged his team to be realistic about their expectations for the upcoming season.

“For the new year we have to be realistic about our expectations, if our performance is at the level we hope they will be we could be part of the fight at the top,” the Austrian told Autosprint.

“I think that would be a good starting point, but let’s not take it for granted, because it can also happen that we have a gap like we had at the end of last season.”

Wolff has not been able to completely stay away from the excitement surrounding the W14 however, with the Mercedes boss claiming the car has a lot of potential in 2023.

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“I believe that there is still so much potential in our car and its philosophy that maybe we will have a very big and steep development curve in the months to come,” he explained.

The Silver Arrows will hope that they can take advantage of their rivals’ hinderances this season, as Red Bull battle with their cost cap breach punishment and Ferrari adapt to new management following the appointment of Fred Vasseur.

Mercedes will unveil the W14 on February 15th, after Red Bull and Ferrari have launched their 2023 competitors.