Toto Wolff makes big Mercedes claim which will surprise Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes were unable to even challenge for a podium at the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix.

Mercedes had some big decisions to make over the winter break, with the team needing to drastically improve their performance after finishing third in the 2022 constructors’ championship.

The Silver Arrows decided to stick with their zero sidepod concept despite Ferrari and Red Bull proving in 2022 that their more detailed designs led to high performance.

Following the Bahrain Grand Prix, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has admitted that this choice was a mistake, as the team slipped behind Aston Martin to finish in P5 and P7 following Charles Leclerc’s retirement from the race.

Wolff has explained that his team will now begin to explore different development pathways before deciding how to proceed in 2023, having finished 50 seconds being the race winner Max Verstappen in Bahrain.

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The W14 is currently slower than the Red Bulls, Ferraris and Aston Martins but Toto Wolff has now revealed that Mercedes actually hit all of their targets over the winter when developing the car.

“We set ourselves very high targets and we’ve achieved those high targets,” he explained.

“I think it’s where we set those targets, all of us collectively, and how we need to maybe change the perspective which is an interesting exercise. It is also something I’m looking forward to.

“I’d rather win every single race and continue to win championship after championship, but this is now the real challenge, and for me it is an interesting one, as painful as it is today.

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“It is pretty clear where we should be going, we just need to make the data work and I think the most important thing is re-establishing a baseline to say: ‘This is where we are and that there are no surprises in the other direction.”

Mercedes have reportedly brought former technical director James Allison back to the team to oversee the next wave of upgrades for the W14, which are set to arrive around the time of the Grand Prix in Imola.

This decision increases the pressure on current technical director Mike Elliott, who has been heavily criticised by fans in recent weeks.