Toto Wolff makes admission that will be music to Lewis Hamilton’s ears

Mercedes decided to stick with their zero sidepod approach this season, despite struggling last year with the W13.

When the regulations underwent a major change ahead of the 2022 season, teams were sent back to the drawing board and produced all sorts of different designs.

Mercedes’ W13 was perhaps the strangest looking car on the grid, with the new zero sidepod design being very different to anything seen in the sport before.

As it turned out, Mercedes had completely misjudged the physics surrounding the new regulations and limped to a third placed finish in the championship, struggling with porpoising and a lack of performance for the majority of the season.

It was therefore to everybody’s surprise during this season’s pre-season testing when Mercedes turned up with a similarly designed W14, which still featured the zero sidepod design.

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has defended his teams decision to stick with this concept all through testing but after qualifying sixth and seventh for the Bahrain Grand Prix, the Austrian appears to have changed his mind.

Despite claiming that Mercedes were confident in their approach to the W14 only days ago, Wolff has now admitted that the Silver Arrows have got it wrong and will now look to explore a different development route.

“We got it wrong last year, we thought we could fix it by sticking to this concept of car and it didn’t work out,” he said.

“We need to switch our focus on to what we believe can be the right direction. What it is that we are missing and therefore those data points from this weekend are very important.

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“We have seen on the GPS where we are lacking performance and we have seen where we are good, and we just need to sort out what that is and whether that is sticking bigger sidepods on the car or really subtle things that bring performance is a different question.

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“Definitely within the group, we will embark on untrodden paths.”

While the Silver Arrows were never expected to beat Ferrari and Red Bull from the very start, they will be phenomenally annoyed that Aston Martin look to be a stronger team than them so far this year.

Aston Martin use Mercedes engines, meaning that the only factor that could make them faster than Mercedes is the design of the car, proving that the Silver Arrows have got it wrong.