Mercedes more focused on platform than “sheer downforce” according to Wolff

Spread the love

Speaking to the media after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Toto Wolff discussed Red Bull’s advantage, citing their stability in cornering compared to the other teams. The Mercedes man claims this is the main area of focus for his team.

Toto Wolff speaking to the media
Photo credit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team

“The car would be too low, too stiff.”

Speaking after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, during which Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen scored another runaway 1-2 finish, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff discussed the stability the Red Bull chassis seems to afford it’s drivers.

Wolff says a more stable platform is the main focus at Mercedes, as he believes this will allow the team to unlock more performance than just adding additional downforce.

“I think for our car it’s more about the ride control than it is about sheer downforce,” Wolff said when quizzed on the Mercedes development plan. “We could put a lot of downforce on the car, but the car would be too low, too stiff.”

“We would bring a different chassis.”

Continuing to discuss the team’s development plan, Wolff claims that in an ideal world the team’s plan would be to bring a different chassis entirely. It’s no big secret that the team have been disappointed in the performance of the W14, with Lewis Hamilton openly admitting to his disappointment in the team’s decision to continue pursuing their original philosophy which proved to be difficult in 2022.

Unfortunately for Mercedes, the stringent financial regulations make an all new chassis essentially impossible for the team due to the costs associated with development.

“We are more stuck than before, because if we would be completely free we would bring a different chassis,” Wolff stated bluntly when asked about the limitations to the team’s development plan. “We have to really decide carefully what is it that we want to upgrade.

“So bringing new front suspension to Imola, and then the aero upgrade that comes with it, and floor. If we were free we would probably bring double the amount of upgrades but so would the others. It’s a relative game. I think it’s ok. Just need to be clever in making the right decisions which bring the optimum amount of performance.”

“The ground effect cars are s*** cars…”

Wolff went on to compare the performance of the Red Bull to its competitors, highlighting the stability of the RB19 in almost all situations, which is evident from onboard footage. He also shared his scathing summary of Formula 1’s new ground effect era cars, leading to muffled laughter from the media.

“You can see on the onboards, [Red Bull’s] car is barely moving. Be it on the straights or over bumps, or corner through-balance looks easy. You look at all the other onboards and the cars are tricky.

“I think generally the ground effect cars are s*** cars, it’s just who has the least s***tiest is ahead.”