Wolff believes Mercedes’ performance in Monaco was “encouraging”, but there’s still work to be done

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Mercedes finally debuted their upgrade package, which was initially meant to be fitted and tested at the cancelled Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

The upgrades notably included visible sidepods, a departure from Mercedes’s zero-pod philosophy. Aside from the sidepods, the W14 also got a new front suspension and floor tweaks.

Photo credit: Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team

Asked where the team stands with the latest batch of upgrades and if they noticed any discernible improvements in the performance of the car, Toto Wolff said:

“It’s so difficult, because we were in the mix with Aston Martin and with Ferrari, I would say. On a positive note, maybe encouraging, because we’ve never really been good here.

“We have been three tenths behind pole. Last year was six tenths.

“The car was awful last year and this time around the drivers said “it’s not good.” So, there’s a step in description,” Wolff stated, somewhat wryly.

“But we really need to be careful, we need to go to Barcelona and collect more data. It’s a new baseline. I don’t expect us to be clearing Aston Martin and Ferrari there, either.”

“It is more about understanding what does this car do now, how do we set it up… And we are really good at grinding away. Once we decide the development direction, then we grind away.”

“Even with the old package which wasn’t that great, or was terrible at the start of the season, we managed to win a race in Interlagos [in 2022] in a very dominant way so we’re going to get there.”

He added that Monaco is a very specific track and that he expects the upcoming rounds to paint a more representative picture of the W14’s post-upgrade performance.

“Here, it’s mainly ride and low-speed downforce. You don’t see that on many other tracks. So, we’re coming to more mid and high-speed corners, proper racetracks. It should be good.

“I think we’ve been better in FP1 actually and FP2 than the rest of the weekend,” Wolff told the media.

“The more the track grips in, the less performant we are. It’s really a lot of learning at the moment because everything is new. We’ve got to just collect the data and set the car up.

“Over the last two and a half, three years, we’ve had a really good race car and less so a qualifying car. So Sundays look more positive than it looks on qualifying days.”