Toto Wolff fires warning shot at rivals ahead of pre-season testing

Mercedes finished in a disappointing third place in 2022, failing to get to grips with the major changes in regulations.

2022 was a major disappointment for Mercedes, as the team were expected to thrive under the new regulations and produce a highly competitive car capable of challenging for the championship.

As it turned out, the team completely misunderstood the major regulation changes and produced a W13 filled with problems.

Alongside its lack of performance compared to the Ferraris and Red Bulls, the W13 harboured a major porpoising issue which took the Silver Arrows over half of the season to solve, putting any performance-based upgrades on the back burner in the process.

Heading into 2023, the team have expressed their confidence in learning from their humbling experiences last year, claiming that 2022 will be remembered as a much-needed learning curve more than anything else.

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Team principal Toto Wolff has now fired a warning shot to Mercedes’ rivals, suggesting that while they did fall short last season, this year will be much different.

“Do not write us off. In this life, you never stop giving it everything,” he told The Times.

“We’ve been so lucky to win eight constructors’ titles in a row, which is unprecedented.

“And that is due to the fact that we empower our staff here. If I started to meddle in technical decisions after such a winning streak that would be odd.

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“So at that stage, I am in observer mode. I try to guide from a human perspective. Is there anything we need in additional resources? Having said that, I am responsible as the CEO and co-owner. And we, as a team, got it [2022] wrong.”

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Mercedes’ empowerment of their staff will pay dividends this season, as strategic director James Vowles departs the team to become team principal of Williams.

Toto Wolff has explained that because Mercedes have given their strategy team so much responsibility in recent seasons, they are more than capable of stepping up in the absence of Vowles, meaning the Silver Arrows do not have to recruit a replacement from outside.

Mercedes will reveal the W14 next month and if the rumours are to be believed, it will be much more competitive than last year’s car, as the team learns from their mistakes.