“The situation is more encouraging now” — Wolff optimistic about W15 F1 improvements following a “painful learning curve”

Photo Credit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team
Spread the love

Mercedes’ difficulties in the ground effect era continue. McLaren’s win at the Miami Grand Prix on Sunday has properly confirmed the Brackley-based squad is now the fourth force in F1.

They brought a floor upgrade to Miami to start addressing their issues and bring more downforce to the car.

In the end, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finished 6th and 8th respectively on Sunday.

While the fact the seven-time World Champion was able to stay within the DRS of Sergio Perez for most of the final stint on the same compound was encouraging, they still have some amount of work to do.

Team Principal Toto Wolff says that the team is in “sixth gear” in bringing further upgrades to the car over the next few races. He says they have worked the limitations on the W15 and updates are coming to fix these problems.

“I think we understand much more what is needed to get the car in a better place because it’s so clear now what it does and why we struggle and where we struggle.

Wolff reiterated that his team is working around the clock to ensure that they start to claw back the deficit to the top 3 teams.

“In Formula 1 you can accelerate development and produce the bits, and we’re flat out. The design office is all in, and the production and operations are flat out.

“The race team has been doing a good job, so all of the factories are really in sixth gear in order to bring stuff to the car that we believe can be very helpful.”

When asked about a specific timeline of when the future upgrades will be ready, Wolff says that maximising the upgrades is important, which can take time.

“I think we know what we do.

“In terms of what they’re bringing to the car, you can’t really rush it because you’ve got to develop to the point where you say now it’s good to be released into production.

“And once the part comes, only once these bits come, then we will sort it. So this is a matter of many weeks.”

Regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the W15, Wolff said low speed is holding them back from challenging at the front. As the first sectors in Suzuka and Miami showed, Mercedes has a good car in those type of corners.

The Austrian believes the team is now heading on the right path following a brutal couple of years, winning only a single Grand Prix at Interlagos in 2022.

“I think the car’s not bouncing anymore, which is good. It was really bad the last few years,” he explained.

“The car is very strong at high speed, the ride is a bit better but we’re not on the level of the other ones. The car just doesn’t turn at low speed.

“You don’t want to have a car that is either good at high speed or low speed, you need the two of them, and that’s why it points in some of the right direction.

“It’s been a painful, painful learning curve and it’s still not satisfactory, but the situation is more encouraging now.”