Mercedes discover how to bring “a big chunk of performance” to 2023 car

2022 Singapore Grand Prix

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says the team has identified how to gain a significant amount of the performance which is missing from its 2022 car.

However the team won’t be able to capitalise on their understanding of why the W13 isn’t as quick as it should be until next season, he said.

At last weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, where Mercedes qualified within a tenth of a second of pole position, Wolff explained the gains the team has made as it aims to reverse its downturn in form and become a title contender once more.

“To turn the ship in this industry is a little bit like an oil tanker,” Wolff explained. “First to understand what the root causes for your non-performance, then you have to peel the skin, the various skins off: what’s the first layer? What is the second layer?

“Are we really on top of all the questions and the answers? No, we are not. But I think a big chunk of the performance that we are missing, we have discovered. It’s not something we can change this year, it’s decisions that we have made for next year.

“But I am not 100% confident to say here, ‘well next year we will be fighting for the world championships’. The aim is [that], the expectation is, but there’s still work to do.”

Teams have been operating under a budget cap since last year, when most of the design work on Mercedes’ 2022 car was completed. The cap was lowered from $145 million to $140 million for this year and will fall again to $135m for the 2023 F1 season.

However some exceptions are allowed and some adjustments made for extra races: The 2023 F1 calendar includes a record 24 rounds.

Wolff admitted Mercedes have forgone developing a lighter chassis and other parts this season because of the budget cap considerations, and says such advances will have to wait until their 2023 car. With five grands prix of the 2022 season to go, the Mercedes W13 currently stands as the first of the team’s cars not to win a race since the W02 used in 2011.

In Singapore, Mercedes did match its expectations of being more competitive as Lewis Hamilton was just 0.054 seconds short of the pole position time in qualifying. But in a race held in changing conditions, Hamilton crashed and finished ninth while team mate George Russell was a twice lapped 14th following a series of setbacks.

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2022 Singapore Grand Prix

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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...

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19 comments on “Mercedes discover how to bring “a big chunk of performance” to 2023 car”

  1. It’s quite simple really. Just spend 160 million.

    1. Aka the red bull way

      1. Oh come on. Red Bull doesn’t pay Verstappen thát much.

  2. This is the same team that believed it had a world-beater for 2022.

    No point even discussing this until the car is on the track and actually delivering what the tools promised.

    1. AllTheCoolNamesWereTaken
      4th October 2022, 15:41

      2019: Mercedes says their car is slow – goes on to dominate.

      2020: Mercedes says their car is slow – goes on to dominate.

      2022: Mercedes says their car is fast – turns out to be their most “meh” car since the V8 era.

      2023: Mercedes says their car is fast – ???

      1. I don’t recall them ever saying their car was fast this year. Or put another way, most of their statements was cautioning the usual expectation and suspicion that they were sandbagging, when they insisted they weren’t.

        1. Yeah, pretty sure the only people who were hyping up Mercedes were the sport media talking about their “no sidepods radical design” and how it would surely smash the competition before testing was even finished @banbrorace. The team itself has only confirmed they had been always planning to bring that concept and believed it was the right way and that the performance will become clearer once the season gets going for real @proesterchen.

          During its develoment they might have been convinced enough of their performance (otherwise they would have done what AM did with their early change in philosophy), but they never talked it up.

          It turned out their idea was not the right one, and they probably gauged that during the first tests with it. We just were too used to them downtalking themselves (they have been saying “watch out for Red Bull/Ferrari” for years!) that we thought they were doing the same now. But they weren’t

          1. @bascb Lewis talked it up. The famous “team doesn’t make mistakes” quote was a direct answer to the question of whether it might not be a car that would contend for the championship.

    2. Cant remember they stated to have a world beater. But keep making things up, if it somehow helps yourself.

      1. There is a distinction between your failure to read and/or remember and other people making things up.

        This is a case of the former.

        1. reference? or failure on your side?

          1. @romtrain Well Lewis didn’t say it would be a “world-beater” but definitely said it would contend for the title.

  3. Everything he said is logical and easy to accept as sound reasoning. I knew it the very moment they played with greater fuel amount in Q3 that they nailed it – regarding understanding that ‘big chunk’. It’s never one thing it’s always chain of several hence you can never tell with 100% certainty are you on top of it. The new car will give final answer to the question of understanding W13’s shortcomings. Good luck to them and I hope they will be back to winning form next season if Vlad doesn’t treat us with excess amount of energy in the meantime.

  4. It has certainly been an interesting season so far to listen to Mercedes fighting to improve the car, to even understand the car and figure out what the are planning for the W-14.
    Problem is, what are the other 9 teams busy doing…?
    We should see some spectacular cars, excuses and world class song-n-dance come February.
    Gonna luv it.

  5. “To turn the ship in this industry is a little bit like an oil tanker”
    Very apt as F1 cars are as long as oil tankers these days.

  6. They discovered that poaching Adrian Newey from RBR would make a huge difference :)

    1. Newey the undisputed goat of F1.

  7. It’s a bit off topic but speaking about the Goat or champions. Yes there is no straight answer but rolling back the years. Max was so error prone he was dangerous. Before moving to merc and 2013 Lewis was just another fading star who got his championship early. Rosberg was kind of a 7-20th guy before joining merc. JB was once the guy who could never win. Raikkonen was actually was just waiting for that right opportunity to win. Schumi was a controversial driver who didn’t even drive for a real F1 team. Hakkinen had the same thing as JB. Villeneuve’s name was almost forgotten after he won. Hill was oddly old for F1. Senna was also quite controversial. Prost on the other hand was the new young french guy who wanted to walk over Arnoux..

    There are so many good drivers but even they have bad moments and it is easy to forget when they are dominating that in the earlier part of their career they weren’t.

  8. Haha, just like he was predicting the best race of the season for the team at the last race … and has claimed a few times this year they could have won races.
    He’s just out of touch with reality.

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