Mercedes expectant of a challenging season, says Wolff.


Mercedes Team principal Toto Wolff admits his team has an uphill battle to catch up with Red Bull and Ferrari in terms of development progress in 2023.

The Silver Arrows had a difficult 2022 season, with the W13 suffering from problems like porpoising right from the onset.

Although there were signs of improvement in the latter part of the season with George Russell winning the penultimate race of the year in Brazil and the team finishing third in the Constructors’ Championship.

Wolff acknowledges that it could be difficult, but he is optimistic about the team’s chances of making progress in the coming season.

“I’m always a half-empty glass guy, and I see the risks,” Wolff told the Beyond The Grid podcast.

“As a matter of fact, if you’re trying to be logical, Red Bull [were] very dominant throughout the season. They wouldn’t have won 15 races or more [otherwise], and also towards the end.

“It’s going to be very difficult to have a development slope that is steeper than theirs, and also Ferrari.”

Wolff hopes that the culture of the Silver Arrows will help them advance in 2023.

“I believe in the organisation and, fundamentally, it’s not about a lack of downforce, but it’s about a problem in making the downforce work on the car,” he explained.

“With our learnings and the values in the team, the empowerment, the no blame culture, I think we will be back in a more potent form next year. Hopefully, [we’ll be] winning races on merit and fighting for the championship.

“But is it a given? Certainly not.”

Wolff was’nt convinced when reacting to Helmut Marko’s suggestions that Mercedes will pose a serious threat in the upcoming campaign.

“Helmut knows a lot about racing,” Wolff said.

“If he says that, obviously, you have to accept that. But he talked us up at the beginning of the season, [saying] that we would sort out things, and we weren’t able to sort them out.

“The comments, you will always have them, positive or negative. And we just fundamentally need to do the best possible job and return to competitiveness.”