Toto Wolff makes ‘red herring’ comment as he reveals Mercedes change

Mercedes clawed Ferrari back in the second half of the season, following a disastrous start to the year.

2022 was an extremely challenging year for Mercedes, who turned heads in the paddock as soon as pre-season testing.

Following an eighth consecutive Constructors’ Championship in 2021, the new aerodynamic regulations saw Mercedes lose their spot as the dominant side, with the Germans having comfortably been the third best team in 2022.

This was mainly due to one pressing issue: porpoising.

Whilst it was undoubtedly a piece of engineering genius, the W13’s ‘zero sidepods’ caused Mercedes an enormous headache, as they couldn’t shake the bouncing phenomena.

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Mercedes spent half a season trying to solve the issue, which proved to be a risk to the safety of both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

By the time Mercedes had solved their issue, they’d lost half a year’s worth of development, putting them very much on the back foot of Red Bull and Ferrari.

To give the Brackley-based team credit, they certainly clawed Ferrari back by the end of the year and got within a few-tenths of Red Bull, an incredible achievement based on where they were in the first half of the season.

Whilst third in the Constructors’ is by no means what they wanted, they at least claimed a victory towards the end of the year, thanks to Russell at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

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As well as this, the Germans have gathered substantial data to carry over into 2023 and the W14, a car that Mercedes will hope will see them climb back to the top of the standings.

Team principal Toto Wolff has already revealed that the W14 will have a different “DNA” than the woeful W13, which interestingly saw a concept change mid-season which could only be seen “underneath”.

“I go in the wind tunnel, and I say: ‘That thing looks exactly like this year’s car’,” Wolff explained to reporters in Abu Dhabi.

“But they say to me: ‘It’s very different underneath’.

“It is about the airflow, the weight distribution, the aero map.

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“Our car fundamentally changed mid-year – we changed the concept but you couldn’t see anything on the bodywork.

“I think the narrow sidepod concept is like a red herring.

“It’s full of surprises the last time I saw it in the wind-tunnel, but they told me it is not the same.”