Mercedes Reveals First Upgrade to Narrow Gap with Red Bull.

In preparation for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix later this month, Toto Wolff has disclosed the magnitude of the initial upgrade that will be introduced to the W14s by Mercedes.

At the commencement of the season, Mercedes hinted that the present concept of the vehicle might need to be abandoned, but they have now identified a development path that they believe will gradually close the gap with Red Bull.

The Mercedes upgrade has been under development for several weeks, and the team plans to unveil the first component ahead of the Imola race.

Quizzed by the media, the Mercedes team principal responded: “Yeah, the target is Imola.”

“We just need to manage everybody’s expectation because we’re talking so much about that upgrade, we’re not going to put it down on the track and then drive circles around Red Bull, but it’s going be a good baseline I think.”

Toto Wolff openly admits that under the cost-cap regime, the team is now more constrained than ever in terms of what it would like to pursue in terms of development.

“If we were completely free, we would bring a different chassis,” said Wolff. “And so what we have to decide really carefully is what we want to upgrade.”

“So we’re bringing a new front suspension, and then the aero upgrade that comes with it, and floor,” he explained when revealing details of the upgrade.

“If we were free, we would probably bring double the amount of upgrades, but so would the others.

“As it’s a relative game, you just need to be clever in taking the right decisions that bring the optimum amount of performance.”

During the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday, Red Bull’s speed was showcased as Max Verstappen battled Sergio Perez for the lead, which was ultimately claimed by the Mexican driver.

Although the Baku track remains somewhat of an outlier in certain respects, it is evident that the RB19’s pace is “half a second per lap” faster than its nearest competitor, Charles Leclerc from Ferrari, according to Wolff.

Despite the considerable gap, Wolff is optimistic that it can be narrowed throughout the season and that Mercedes will secure a win once again, as it did in the penultimate race in São Paulo last year.

“If we get the platform right, it is less about adding 10 points of downforce, and more about giving the drivers a car that when they turn the wheel into the corner they actually know the rear doesn’t overtake them. That’s the problem.

“Then we can catch up, as we did last year,” Wolff concluded.