Toto Wolff makes admission about upgrades that will worry Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes are set to unveil a substantial upgrade package at Imola as they look to find their way back to the front of the grid.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has revealed the challenges at the Brackley-based team’s headquarters ahead of their Imola upgrade package.

The W14 has been underperforming in 2023, as Mercedes finds itself in P3 in the Constructors’ Championship, having only secured one podium place so far.

“We fear that there is something in our car that we don’t understand,” Wolff told Auto Motor und Sport. 

“That’s why our goal with the upgrade is to eliminate certain variables.  

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“We want to finally get a stable platform that we can then develop further.”

The upgrade package will see Mercedes focus on addressing its aerodynamic performance, bringing new sidepods to the W14.

However, despite their changes, Mercedes is not believed to be prepared to scrap their ‘no sidepod’ design that has seen them take a different approach than their rivals.

“It’s a major upgrade,” Wolff said. “But in my 15 years in Formula 1, I’ve never seen anyone suddenly come up with a magic bullet that suddenly gives you half a second.  

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“But we know how to upgrade a car, so we’ll see relatively quickly whether the result matches the simulations. At any rate, the upgrade will show us the direction in which we need to go.”

Dan Fallows, technical chief at Aston Martin and former Red Bull aerodynamics boss, isn’t shocked to see Mercedes stick with elements of their original concept, as it’s challenging to completely revamp their car.

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“As soon as you take a direction in the aerodynamic concept, it is very difficult to change anything substantial,” Fallows  

“You have to be convinced from the outset that it is the right direction. There are conceptual differences between us, Ferrari and Mercedes, but we currently all have a similar pace. 

“So it would be difficult to argue that those two teams have gone in the wrong direction and need to change something. The more time that passes, the more difficult it becomes to actually change the concept.”