Wolff: Mercedes need to keep “realistic expectations” but “development direction is the right one”

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Photo credit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team

At the end of the Spanish GP, Toto Wolff analysed his team’s performance and the great work done in the factory for the development of the W14. A race that still highlights a large gap from Red Bull but which allows the Brackley team to look to the future with optimism.

It was supposed to be the redemption race and so it was. After a bad 2022 and a disappointing start to the 2023 season, due to a single-seater sister of the (extreme but wrong) ‘zero-pods’ car philosophy, Mercedes announced months ago that it was ready to bring version B to the track of his single-seater by the Spanish GP.

In fact, version B arrived even earlier, given that the ‘new’ W14 already appeared over the Monaco weekend and which allowed the Brackley team not only to change its philosophy but also its results given that, in the race today, both Hamilton and Russell performed great and they both went on the podium, showing themselves as the second force in the field.

It was a great weekend after some difficult timea for the team, and it was analyzed by Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff.

The team boss spoke to Sky Sports and first of all expressed his satisfaction with the result and with the hard work of the team.

“I’m very happy with the work at the factory. We made decisions that took us in a new direction, we changed many parts. It was a risky move, we pushed a lot and this is a nice redemption.”

A job that started at the beginning of the season and took time to complete.

“I think we needed the shock at the beginning of the season – that shook it up. There are lead times. You need to design parts and then you need to produce them.

A change which, according to the Austrian, started directly from the technicians and not from an authoritarian decision by him.

“I have nothing to do with this change. If I designed the car, we wouldn’t be in a good situation. It was a job by all the engineers in all departments.”

A solid race, that of Mercedes, closed about twenty seconds behind Red Bull. An important gap which, however, according to Toto, could have been even smaller.

“We arrived within 20 seconds of Max, but I think that with a clean qualifying and a normal race we would have arrived within 15 seconds.”

A race in which the W14 worked perfectly. The temperatures were very favorable to the team.

“We have to maximise what we have and extract the most from the set-up. However, we will also have a plus in the wind tunnel. Going back to today, the temperatures have been particularly favorable for us and the W14 was perfectly in the window. Lewis’s incident with Lando Norris? Just a racing incident.”

A performance to which, it must be said, Lewis Hamilton also contributed, flawless throughout the race. A performance worthy of a renewal.

“We need to take some time and sit down and have a coffee to talk about the renewal.”

Great race also for Russell, who his team principal wasted no time in praising.

“George was underperforming in the car in qualifying, but both he and Lewis had a great race today.”

A step forward which, undoubtedly, does not yet allow us to fight with Red Bull but which, as admitted by the Mercedes AMG boss, allows us to understand how much the development direction taken is the right one.

“We keep realistic expectations. There is still a long way to go to catch up with Red Bull but it is good to see that the development direction is the right one.”