Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff is optimistic about his team’s ability to bounce back and compete vigorously against Red Bull in the upcoming Formula 1 season.
Drawing inspiration from the remarkable strides made by competitors McLaren and Aston Martin, Wolff believes that Mercedes can bridge the gap to their dominant rivals in 2024.
Despite securing eight consecutive constructors’ championships, Mercedes has encountered challenges adapting to F1’s new ground effect era in 2022 and is still striving to regain its competitive edge.
Currently occupying second place in the constructors’ standings, the Silver Arrows find themselves 310 points adrift of the formidable Red Bull team, which has clinched victory in every race since the previous year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, positioning them for another title double.
Wolff, however, remains undeterred, citing Aston Martin’s significant progress from 2022 to 2023 and McLaren’s substantial mid-season upgrade package as evidence that a transformation can be achieved.
When asked about the feasibility of Mercedes challenging Red Bull in 2024, Wolff confidently asserted, “From where we are, we just need a step like McLaren and Aston Martin have achieved in one go, not a two-tenths upgrade but a five-tenths upgrade to get back into the game, so yes I think it is possible.”
Pressed further on Mercedes’ specific plans for their next car, Wolff explained, “I think we have a few directions; if we would know it would be much easier.
“The car is very unpredictable and lacks grip, so plenty of things we need to tackle.
“We tend to think in F1 that there’s a silver bullet that will unlock everything.
“We just need to put all the components together to make them work together in the car, so not one thing I would call out.”
Considering Mercedes’ immediate prospects, Wolff also pondered their chances at the upcoming Singapore Grand Prix, where the high-downforce Marina Bay Street Circuit is expected to better suit their W14.
He emphasised the uncertainty surrounding predictions, stating, “From last year into this year, we need to be careful with our predictions.
“We could go high downforce, hurray, we’ll be right behind Red Bull next week.
“But we don’t know, that’s the truth.”
Wolff acknowledged that the competition in the midfield is fierce, with teams like Ferrari, McLaren, and Aston Martin all vying for position.
Despite the challenges, he highlighted Mercedes’ consistency in scoring with both cars and their solid second-place position in the championship.
He also expressed hope that Lewis Hamilton, their star driver, would soon secure third place in the drivers’ championship. Wolff concluded, “We are delivering the best possible job considering the car’s lack of performance.”