Acknowledging the challenges faced by Mercedes, team principal Toto Wolff has candidly admitted that the time has come for the team to redirect their efforts towards the development of their 2024 F1 car.
Despite their continuous efforts in implementing a series of upgrades, the Mercedes W14 challenger has proven to be a source of frustration for both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, as they struggle to close the gap to the dominant Red Bull team.
With a realistic assessment of the situation, Mercedes recognizes that a shift in focus is essential to overcome its current performance deficit.
At the British Grand Prix, Mercedes found themselves surpassed by McLaren, with Lando Norris successfully fending off Lewis Hamilton’s late charge to secure second place, closely trailing race-winner Max Verstappen.
Meanwhile, Mercedes driver George Russell faced strong resistance from teammate Oscar Piastri.
The outcome left team principal Toto Wolff acknowledging his disappointment, as he had anticipated a stronger performance from Mercedes at Silverstone, a circuit where the German manufacturer has historically excelled.
“I thought that Silverstone based on our historic performances was the best shot, but it wasn’t,” Wolff said after Sunday’s British Grand Prix.
“So maybe there’s another track where we have the best shot [of winning] because the characteristics of the car have changed.
“I always believe that we can beat Max [Verstappen], we have a good group of people, and the best drivers.
“We just have to give them a car that is more predictable, and not the Diva 2.0, and much more complicated than the first one.”
Despite an initial boost in performance following their significant upgrade in Monaco, Mercedes has struggled to maintain the momentum, while other teams, notably McLaren, have made significant advancements.
Toto Wolff, reflecting on the team’s challenges, attributed their inability to make substantial changes to their car to the F1 cost cap and wind tunnel restrictions.
These limitations have hindered Mercedes from implementing the “fundamental” modifications necessary to keep pace with its competitors.
“I think we are restricted by the cost cap and by the relative less amount in wind tunnel and CFD time that McLaren was able to have,” Wolff elaborated.
“They finished further back in the championship and they were like fifth or sixth mid year. So they carried over that more wind tunnel time allocation. And that’s why it’s kind of difficult.
“Do I believe that we have upgrades in there that are going to fundamentally change the car? I don’t believe so. But we have a few small steps that are to come.
“And you can see that if you find the tenth or two or three, it puts you in a different position on the grid.”
When questioned about the timeline for Mercedes to shift their complete attention towards next season’s car, the Austrian responded:
“I think pretty soon. We have no choice.
“P2 or 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 to next year and then, at all the races to come, learn and develop, and make sure that we can carry that forward into next year.
“But, having said that, the regulations are the same. So it’s not that you’re not learning nothing by continuing this car. It’s a balance that we have to strike right.”