Toto Wolff claims 2022’s W13 is now a symbol of boldness: “We took a radical design direction.“

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Picture Credits Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team

Last week saw Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team launch their challenger for the 2023 F1 season – the Mercedes-AMG F1 W14 E PERFORMANCE. The team hope that this will see them back competing regularly at the front of the grid following the disappointment from the lack of a consistent performance from their W13 last season. However, team principal Toto Wolff also has plans for the underperforming car and intends for it to be a reminder to his team to be brave and not fear failure.


Back at the end of the 2022 F1 season with Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team finishing in the unfamiliar position of P3 in the Constructors’ Championship, Team Principal Toto Wolff had been reflecting on the role the W13 would have in the team’s illustrious history. At the time, the Mercedes maestro claimed: “I think this car will always have a special place in our collection – very far back.”


During last week’s launch of the W14, Toto Wolff took a moment to explain the role the W13 will now have.


“It’s going to go in the lobby,” Wolff told the media. “But I’ve changed my approach a little bit because I wanted to put it in a lobby as a reminder not to rest on our laurels. But actually, I want to place it in the lobby because it is a symbol of boldness for me, and courage. We took a radical design direction last year. We dared and we failed.


“So for me, that shows a lot the mindset of team, how to cope with success or failure at the same time. And I wouldn’t want us to go in any shape or form conservative, and I want us to take a calculated risk and be bold.” said Wolff


Back in the end of 2022, when reflecting on the W13, Toto Wolff’s remarks already showed how he felt the team had turned a corner with the car. At the time Wolff claimed: “I think that hopefully the next few years will do her justice, because the learning curve with that car was enormous. Our fundamental understanding of aerodynamic, vehicle dynamics correlation, has really had a step change, has gone through a step change of learning. And it will also not be forgotten as a car that dominated the Brazilian Grand Prix!”


It says a lot about the expectation at Mercedes that a race winning F1 car is not up to their high standards. After all, a team does not become an 8-time F1 Constructors’ Champion without holding themselves to very high standards. A team also achieves success of this type by being together and having synergy, but Wolff’s recent remarks show that he never expected his team to be out in front forever.

“We talked about it for every single year when we were successful,. That eventually, we’re going to have a difficult one, because there is no sports team in the world that won every single competition that they participated in. That moment has come last year, and it was difficult. It was just not a race that went wrong, it was a whole season, or at least the first half of the season. So it was about really living to our own standards, staying motivated, not blaming anyone in the organisations, but sticking our heads together and trying to work us out of the dilemma.”

The W14 unveiled last week certainly looks the part. Its sleek design and ‘no sidepod’ element returning has caught the attention. However, the trials and tribulations of 2022 has not just had an impact on the 2023 car but also Toto Wolff himself.


“I learned so much about myself. We learned so much in the team, how we interact with each other, because you kind of prepare yourself for the situation. But it came thick and hard last year because it wasn’t a race, or two or three, it was a large part of the season that we didn’t perform as expected. We went through the rollercoaster of emotions of seeing a good race and then the next one was even worse and managing your own expectations was a tricky one.


“I think I’m a better me personally, as a manager, and also the organisation we have learned a lot about each other. And we’ve taken that straight on.” Wolff concluded.


With Bahrain testing arriving later this week after a long winter break, the W14 will soon be put through its paces on track. Even so, it will only be on the actual Bahrain Grand Prix weekend next month when we start to get an idea of what the W14 is capable of.


Once again , Mercedes has a radical design.

Once again, they’ve taken a dare.

Now, time will tell as to whether this year they are successful.