Mercedes: “Fundamental design changes for next year” won’t be hindered by the cost cap

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Photo credit: Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team

While Mercedes certainly haven’t returned to their title-contending form of years past, a new package of upgrades brought at the Monaco Grand Prix showed the potential that the team could have for the rest of the season. Lewis Hamilton’s 3rd place finish in Canada solidified the assumptions that the updated W14 pushed Mercedes further to the front of the grid, now competing with the likes of Aston Martin and closing the gap to Red Bull.

This upgrade package looks promising, but there are evident flaws in this year’s Mercedes car that resulted in George Russell and Lewis Hamilton struggling to keep up with their normal main competitors from the beginning of the season. And, with the cost cap always prevalent in this era of F1, focusing development money on this year and next year’s cars has not been an easy take,

With all this being said, Mercedes’ Team Principal Toto Wolff remains confident that the cost cap will not hinder the team’s attempts to make a title contender in 2024.

“We have set up a huge organisation in our financial department of 46 people, that monitors the cost cap down to the last screw. It follows the trend of spending during all of the year and what we’ve done is basically allocated resource to various projects. We stayed below that line all year last year, and we’ve stayed below that line this year.

“Considering a normal development switch for next year, this is still pretty much on track. The good thing is that we are constantly learning about what the car is doing. There are going to be some fundamental design changes for next year, but it’s not that we’re building stuff. It’s more what are we simulating – and that is not measured in money. It’s teraflops or wind tunnel hours.”

Photo Credit: Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team

Hamilton also took the time to point out in Canada how he feels in the car with the new upgrades in place, and how there is still plenty of work to be done to catch Red Bull and Verstappen.

“In truth, it doesn’t feel a huge difference to the beginning of the year. There are some elements of the car which do feel different, but it’s just simply having a little bit more downforce on the car. But the characteristics of the car are very, very similar to what we had earlier on in the year.

“For next year’s car, you need to take a lot of these different things off and change them. It’s definitely not, characteristic-wise, the car that’s going to be able to beat the Red Bull just yet. And so, we’ve got to work on that.”

The future looks brighter for Mercedes. It is now up to time and the development race to see whether the Brackley-based team can hunt down Red Bull this year and fight for wins across the rest of the campaign.