Toto Wolff makes ‘big statement’ about the W14 despite ongoing issues

Mercedes experienced a mixed bag over the course of pre-season testing in Bahrain, as the W14 got its first shakedown.

The 2022 season was a disaster for Mercedes, as the team’s design for the W13 simply was not the best way to tackle the major regulation changes.

Mercedes have admitted that the misinterpreted the physics surrounding the new regulations and ultimately this condemned them to a third-place finish in the constructors’ championship as Ferrari and Red Bull were a level above the Silver Arrows.

As well as a general lack of performance, the team were plagued by a severe porpoising issue, with the violent bouncing inflicting a lot of pain on both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

Stopping this bouncing became the priority for the team and any performance based upgrades were put on hold as they spent the first half of the season combatting the porpoising.

READ: Did Ferrari deliberately make SF-23 experience ‘awful porpoising’ in Bahrain testing?

Heading into pre-season testing in Bahrain, the team would have been hoping to not suffer a similar fate with the W14 and according to team principal Toto Wolff, everything is so far so good with regards to porpoising.

“The porpoising is gone essentially, yeah,” he told Sky Sports.

Lead commentator David Croft said that this claim was a “big statement,” considering how large of an issue the bouncing proved to be for the team last year.

While the porpoising seems to be a thing of the past for Mercedes, other issues have begun to hinder the team in pre-season.

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George Russell’s run on Friday was cut short by a hydraulic problem, similar to the issue that caused Lewis Hamilton to retire from the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

READ: Lewis Hamilton claims he feels ‘reinvigorated’ as contract talks show no progress

Toto Wolff has been relatively negative about Mercedes’ testing experience, suggesting after Friday’s sessions that he does not currently believe that his team are capable of challenging Ferrari and Red Bull, such is their current pace.

The Mercedes boss did however claim that the Silver Arrows will be competitive this season, as they will quickly be able to develop and upgrade the W14 to get it to the level of the RB19 and SF-23.

Mercedes will be hoping to challenge for race wins every weekend this season, having been brought down to earth by last season’s shortcomings.