Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff emphasizes the need to find a balance between developing the current W14 challenger and designing a new car for the upcoming season.
Lewis Hamilton, on the other hand, urges the team to shift their focus towards building a competitive car for next year to challenge Red Bull, citing McLaren’s performance at the British Grand Prix as a wake-up call.
Mercedes introduced a significant upgrade package during the Monaco Grand Prix, which has yielded positive results. However, the competitive landscape in Formula 1 has been constantly changing as rival teams update their own cars from race to race.
During discussions about development strategies before the British GP, Wolff acknowledged that many teams are allocating a substantial portion of their resources to next year’s car. He acknowledges the challenge of striking the right balance and ensuring that enough development is being carried out on the current car.
Wolff emphasizes the importance of continued development on the W14, as even small improvements can make a significant difference in such a closely contested field. However, the team has started to question whether their fundamental car concept is hindering them from making the same progress as McLaren, Ferrari, and Aston Martin.
Considering the recent events at Silverstone, Wolff now recognizes the necessity of shifting focus to next year’s car. While the current season’s championship might be out of reach, the team aims to learn, develop, and carry their progress forward to secure a world championship in the future.
Despite the need to shift focus, Wolff acknowledges that there is still valuable learning to be gained from the current car due to the consistent regulations in place.
Wolff told the media : “When I asked Niki [Lauda, former Non-Executive Chairman] if we should focus on this year or next year he said ‘both’. So there’s a lot of learning that we have to do with that car.
“Nevertheless, it’s pretty clear that many people will have shifted a large part of their development resource into next year.
“This is something we’re balancing at the moment, is there enough that we’re bringing onto the car?”
While the team has worked hard to enhance their performance, they are beginning to wonder if their core vehicle design is keeping them from making the same big leaps as McLaren, Ferrari, and Aston Martin.
Changing his tune after the Silverstone weekend, Wolff explained: “I think pretty soon we [will] have no choice [than to switch focus].
“This P2-P3 fundamentally doesn’t impact me and the team, it’s about coming back and being able to win a world championship in that respect.
That’s not going to happen this year, so we need to set our eyes on next year and then see all the races to come to learn, develop, and make sure that we can carry that forward into next year.
“But having said that, the regulations are the same. It’s not like you’re not learning anything by continuing this car, so it’s a balance to strike right.”