Toto Wolff warns big changes are coming at Mercedes

Toto Wolff has said that the fundamentals of the Mercedes car will have to change for next season if they wish to be competitive.

Mercedes have had a stuttering start to the new F1 era, with the Silver Arrows taking longer than expected to master the regulation changes that came at the start of this year.

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton find themselves winless, with only three races to go, with the latter being on the verge of his first ever winless season in Formula 1.

It is not the drivers, however, who are to blame, with the W13 being a car that has been significantly off the pace of Red Bull and Ferrari ever since the season started.

The team lost development time fixing porpoising issues early on and have never quite recovered, with Hamilton’s P2 finish in Austin being the closest that the team have come to a win all season.

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Team principal Toto Wolff believes that a major overhaul on the 2023 car is needed in order to become one of the top teams on race day again.

“I think the DNA of the car is going to change for next year – that is clear,” he said.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean that the bodywork is going to look very different, but certainly what is part of the DNA of the car – the architecture will change for next year.”

The news of Red Bull’s punishment for breaching the 2021 budget cap will be eagerly awaited for by Mercedes, with any limit in CFD or wind tunnel testing time adding to the advantage that they will already have over their rivals for next year.

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“In all of 2021 we were the leading team and then we won the constructor’s championship,

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“So for half of 2022, we had seven per cent less wind tunnel time throughout these 18 months to Red Bull and much less than Ferrari,” Wolff explained.

“Now it will be the other way around – we’re going to have 14 per cent more as we finished third – so that over time is exactly what the regulations were designed to do and should give us some potential to eke back some of the advantage.”

With 2022 not living up to what the Silver Arrows would have hoped, the team will be looking to finish strong in the final three races of 2023 before focussing all their attention on creating their 2023 contender.