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Toto Wolff of Mercedes

Wolff: Mercedes will ’embark on a new journey’ after throwing W14 ‘in the bin’

Mercedes are battling for P2 in the Constructors' Championship against Ferrari and Aston Martin with Lewis Hamilton now the leading driver in the Drivers' Standings behind the two Red Bull drivers

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Toto Wolff, Team Principal of Mercedes, has admitted that the team are hopeful for 2024 because of their progress this season and that the team aren’t afraid to rid themselves of the W14 car. 

Hamilton and Russell of Mercedes
George Russell leads Lewis Hamilton during the F1 Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 17, 2023 in Singapore. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images)

2023 has been a tumultuous year for Mercedes. Over the course of the past 16 rounds, both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have made complaints over the W14 car of Mercedes. Despite overcoming the issue of porpoising, which plagued the Brackley outfit in 2022, the W14 still wasn’t that driveable; Hamilton even called out Mercedes saying the team needed to take “accountability” for what was wrong with the car design.

However, now heading into the Japanese Grand Prix this weekend, things have been looking more positive for Mercedes. Whilst the team have struggled, Hamilton has scored five podiums – his most recent in Singapore – and Russell has scored one podium, making a total of six.

In the most recent Grand Prix at Marina Bay, both Hamilton and Russell were able to fight up front and challenge the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz and McLaren of Lando Norris. Unfortunately for the German manufacturer, Sainz played a clever strategy taking the win and Russell sadly crashed on the penultimate lap. But the Singapore Grand Prix did show the strides that Mercedes have made to improve the W14.

But now, after Round 16 of the season, Toto Wolff, Team Principal of Mercedes, has spoken out on the W14 of this season and how the development of the 2024 car is coming.

Mercedes ready to ’embark on a new journey’

Toto Wolff spoke to Autosport about Mercedes’ progress and how they’re preparing for the next season. The Team Principal admitted:

“We will throw this one in the bin when it’s really fast and then embark on a new journey.

“We have encouraging signs from the tunnel of a balanced car that’s going to be more together, and we have answers to our questions. So, we are really looking at the results with an encouraging perspective.”

Whilst Mercedes are taking a positive outlook on the results being produced, there is still lots for the team to learn with seven races left in 2023. Expanding on this, Wolff said:

“This is still for us a little bit of a surprise box. Every learning that we have this year is going to be more valuable next year – but obviously nobody is working on the current cars anymore.”

Wolff also touched on the unpredictability of the W14 and how that can affect a race weekend. The Austrian admitted that the unpredictability is the reason why Mercedes improve over a race weekend because the team can understand the car more at the circuit.

“The car is still so sensitive and difficult to set up that we need more sessions to get on top of it. Because you [the drivers] don’t know what the car is going to do when you turn in, it’s a matter of gaining confidence over those sessions.

“And the longer we run, the better we get, the more we can fine tune the tools and that helps.”

Looking ahead to Suzuka

With such a competitive race in Singapore, Wolff has also admitted that Mercedes will be hoping for similar performance this weekend in Japan. He said:

“The track is incredibly challenging, and the drivers love racing on it. The margins were so close in Singapore, so we’ll be aiming for another competitive showing in Suzuka. We lost some ground in the Constructors’ Championship to Ferrari at the last race. We are looking forwards not back, though. Our focus is on maximising the package we have and scoring as many points as possible. If we do so, I’m confident we can extend our advantage.”

Mercedes currently have 289 points this season and are second in the standings. Hamilton is 43 points behind Sergio Perez in the Drivers’ Championship. Russell is down in seventh, 14 points behind Charles Leclerc.

Red Bull’s streak of race wins this season ended last weekend in Singapore. Mercedes’ last win came in Brazil 2022 and the question is whether we’ll see Hamilton or Russell on the top step of the podium this year.

Headline Image: GettyImages

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