Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2022

Mercedes’s 2023 F1 car concept ‘needs to be decided in the next weeks’ – Wolff

2023 F1 season

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Mercedes’ decision on what direction to take with major parts of its 2023 Formula 1 car need to come “in the next weeks”, says team principal Toto Wolff.

The 14th car Mercedes has produced since returning to F1 as a chassis constructor in 2010 is in the early stages of planning. The team have not determined whether it will be an evolution of this year’s F1 W13 car – which is the currently Mercedes’ first win-less chassis in a decade – or take a different design direction.

“It’s a very difficult situation because we obviously have a certain concept of the [2022] car, and it’s not like we can experiment a lot this year and simply [try] stuff out and test,” said Wolff during the Belgian Grand Prix.

“So whatever we decide for next year, it needs to be carefully evaluated because our data doesn’t give us the results, doesn’t correlate with the reality. We have massive swings in performance that we can’t really get on top of. In this very moment to take a decision for next year, whatever it may be, changing the concept dramatically, how can you be sure that’s the better direction to go?”

Mercedes has pursued an aggressive design philosophy this year with its unique, ultra-slim sidepods. Making a drastic change in its concept would inevitably mean “starting a little bit way back” which the team learns the behaviour of a completely different car, Wolff believes.

However Mercedes have “not committed” about the overall car concept yet, he said. “There’s still internal discussions going on.

“Is it the chassis in its current shape? What is that [going to be in 2023]? Is it weight distribution? Is it where you can put the mechanical and the aero balance? Is it a bodywork concept?

“All these are different pillars of the car, which are evaluated and it could mean that some of them go, some of them stay, and that’s what we are looking at at the moment.”

The answers to those questions will likely be determined before the start of the flyaway events in October, when teams will also be looking to bring the next set of high-downforce updates to their cars – budget cap and development plans permitting – following the current run of two low-downforce tracks in three weeks.

“There’s various cut-off points relating to these various parts of the car that happen really in the next few weeks” Wolff explained. “You’ve got to commit to a chassis concept, you’ve got to commit to a suspension layout, et cetera. And how do you do your cooling? Where do you place your radiators, how to integrate the engine? That is something which we need to decide really in the next weeks.”

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Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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11 comments on “Mercedes’s 2023 F1 car concept ‘needs to be decided in the next weeks’ – Wolff”

  1. It’s the sidepods less which made the floor the weakest point. The floor is so large that there is not enough body to keep the floor straight and flex too much causing Porpoise effect. Now the floor is raised with 15mm they are losing to much downforce as the air escape.

  2. From last few races I see now the porpoising effect is already lesser? So it doesn’t matter sidepod or sidepod-less concept, it’s the Mercedes PU no longer the most powerful and dominant, and they facing fierce competition with Red Bull and Ferrari after PU advantage neutered.

    1. I’m inclined to agree. OF course I have no real idea whether or not the chassis is truly poor, but the Merc PU’s do not seem to be the class of the field.

      Maybe the chassis would not handle any extra power very well, but I’m still inclined to think that this is the biggest shortfall at the moment.

    2. True. Afaik there have been changes of the fuel, which significantly impacted the Merc PU.

  3. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
    1st September 2022, 9:48

    I think the concept needs to start with the suspension and trying to not need it so stiff with very limited movement.

    1. Ah, so you want to eliminate ground effects.

      Fair enough.

  4. They should start talking less and working harder

    1. Congratulations!

      You win the dumbest comment of the day award.

  5. It will be hilarious after all the bragging of the past 8 years that Mercedes will copy the RBR car concept for 2023.

    1. @tifoso1989 If they decide to change concepts, then there is no shame in copying a Newey design. Since they would in effect be 1 year behind in development, it would make sense to copy the best design, make it work with your components, and then try to make it “better”.

  6. Nothing about the illegal front wing?
    It’s forbidden for 2023 but merc is allowed to use this grey area wing.
    What about grey areas Russell and toto?

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