Mercedes is in discussions with the FIA over a front wing upgrade it brought for the United States Grand Prix but will not use in today’s race.
The new design features additional slot gap separators which the team says “improve the rigidity of final two front wing elements”. However Wolff admitted the design may need to be changed to ensure its compliance with the rules.
“We are thinking of running it and we had an exchange with the FIA so maybe we need to tweak a little bit here and there,” he added. “But it’s not yet decided.”
Lewis Hamilton expressed disappointment at qualifying almost six-tenths of a second behind pole-winner Carlos Sainz Jnr in his upgraded W13. But Wolff believes they are closer to the pace this weekend than their qualifying result indicates.
“Austin didn’t look great on paper a few weeks ago and then we brought the upgrade and we’re six-tenths off,” he said. “Lewis could have probably dropped two-tenths away and it would have been four-tenths away in Austin, looks like a solid result considering the weaknesses of the chassis overall.”
Russell, who has been regularly out-qualified by his team mate since the summer break, was narrowly beaten by Hamilton again yesterday. He admitted he lost confidence after nearly losing control of his car during first practice.
“I talked with him about it, he’s just not happy with the car,” said Wolff. “He says in Q3 he got it kind of together, but overall he’s not feeling comfortable in the car. He said that in FP1, the first three laps, [he had] massive confidence, the car felt really good, it’s almost like previous cars.
“Then a big moment and you kind of never get there in terms of the confidence level because the car is so unpredictable, so difficult in crosswinds, so difficult in the wind generally. The wind direction changes, the car goes from very good to very bad. So I have no doubt he’s going to get back there.”
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2022 United States Grand Prix
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