Toto Wolff makes damning claim about 2023 season after just one grand prix

Mercedes look significantly slower than their rivals once again this season.

The 2023 season opener in Bahrain saw Mercedes’ worst fears realised, as the team had actually fallen back in the pecking order rather than progressed forward.

Having struggled to compete with Ferrari and Red Bull last year, it was expected that Mercedes would make drastic changes and improvements over the winter to return to title challenging ways this season.

Unfortunately for the team, this has not been the case, with Aston Martin now leapfrogging the team to make the Silver Arrows the fourth fastest team on the grid.

Toto Wolff and his team decided to stick with the zero sidepod approach this season but after being unable to lay a glove on Red Bull once again in Bahrain, the Mercedes team principal has conceded that they made a mistake.

READ: Mercedes bring back James Allison after woeful start to 2023

The Austrian has now claimed that after only one race, Mercedes will now be exploring a different development pathway for the W14, with the zero sidepod approach clearly not being the best in terms of performance.

Red Bull’s front lock lockout led to a one-two finish in Bahrain and this has caused Wolff pain, with the Mercedes boss now suggesting that while Mercedes are already out of contention for the championship, Red Bull could win every race.

“After the first Grand Prix, I also believe that they [Red Bull] will win every race this year,” he said.

“This year is no longer going to work out.”

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Wolff’s fears that Mercedes W14 may not be the correct one were confirmed in Bahrain, as Aston Martin’s AMR23 looks significantly quicker than the W14, despite having the same power unit.

This means that Aston Martin’s decision to adopt Red Bull’s detailed sidepod approach was a smart one, a design that Mercedes have also been urged to copy.

Upgrades for the W14 that will see the car go down a different development pathway are already in the works, but it is expected that these upgrades will not be online until F1 heads to Imola, leaving Mercedes languishing behind their rivals for a few more weeks.