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Clive Mason

Wolff: ‘There is a Mount Everest to climb to catch Red Bull’

The Mercedes team principal feels there is a long road ahead to catch the champions.

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Toto Wolff speaks out about the long uphill battle Mercedes face as they hope to return to the top step for 2024.

End of season celebrations at Abu Dhabi. Photo credits: Jakub Porzycki via Getty Images
End of season celebrations at Abu Dhabi. Photo credits: Jakub Porzycki via Getty Images

The end of the 2023 season will be a celebration for the Mercedes team as they bid farewell to the W14.

The Brackley team struggled throughout the season and were quick to realise that they were no match to rivals Red Bull – who seemed to have cracked the regulations code.

Albeit, Mercedes finished second overall in the constructors with a further eight podiums to add to their collection. However, the team are less than happy about their season.

Mercedes decided to continue with the 2022 design that contained a zero side pod concept. This didn’t end up working in their favour and by Monaco they scrapped the design and brought in new upgrades.

However, it was too late as they were now on the back foot and were a long way off the points mark compared to the Milton Keynes team.

Heading into Abu Dhabi on almost equal points to Ferrari, the team managed to scrap a further three points and just finish ahead of the Italian team.

Red Bull in comparison, trounced on the grid, winning 22 out of 23 races and finishing with an incredible 860 point season – beating the previous point record, which was Mercedes’ 2016 campaign – whilst Mercedes finished with 408 points.

Wolff voices his opinion

Speaking to Motorsport.com, Wolff spoke out about his feelings for 2024 and the fresh car the Brackley team are set to produce.

However, the team principal doesn’t want to get his hopes up just yet.

Red Bull already has an advantage with it rumoured to have finished their 2024 car back in August.

“I have never in my life felt optimistic about anything.” Wolff started.

“It may sound a bit miserable, but it’s protected me about managing my expectations and just pushing harder.

“Because I think it’s never good enough. That’s why I sit here with a bittersweet feeling. We won P2 [in the constructors’ championship], but we lost P1.”

“I think we need to take it on the chin, be humble about it and consider it a good day. Nevertheless, there’s a Mount Everest to climb in order to catch up with Red Bull.

Wolff makes a prediction that it’ll be a tough battle next year with the cars evidentially becoming more close together towards the end of the season. With the comeback of McLaren and Aston Martin’s impressive season, he suspects they will be the culprits near the top for next season:

“I have no doubt that McLaren is going to be right in the mix next year, and maybe Aston Martin and maybe others.

“We must leave no stone unturned, which we do in Brixworth and Brackley.

“And as tough as it is to be reminded that it’s just P2, it’s also a great, great opportunity to come back and strive for the stars.”

With the new design in the works for 2024, there is a slight glimmer of hope with the mystery of what the W15 car will look and race like.

There is now 95 days until the F1 season kicks off again in Bahrain and we will see what Mercedes have been working on.

Featured image credits: Clive Mason via Getty Images

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