George Russell, Mercedes, Albert Park, 2023

No Mercedes upgrades before Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

2023 Australian Grand Prix

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says the time will not be bringing any significant upgrades to improve their W14 until the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix at Imola in late May.

The team are fighting to catch up to rivals Red Bull after being out-performed by the champions over the opening two rounds. The Mercedes drivers were also beaten by Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin in the first two races.

Having admitted Mercedes will likely have to abandon the fundamental design concept of its W14 car which inherited the concept of its predecessor from last year, Wolff has previously accepted that Mercedes’ scope for extracting significantly more performance from its 2023 car in its current guise remains limited. While the team will work on upgrades for the W14 this season, Wolff admits there will be no performance-focused upgrades on their car until Imola.

“The next three races, we won’t be adding any performance,” he told Sky after the end of Friday practice for the Australian Grand Prix. “[It’s now about] finding the best set-up solutions and the tyres in the right window.”

Wolff and George Russell have said the team has made rapid gains with its development work since accepting the need to change the design philosophy of its current car. However Wolff warned not to expect any “miracles” with the upgrades they will eventually bring to their car in future rounds.

“We’re doing good steps, good developments, but you’ve got to run them, confirm them, produce them,” he explained. “So I think we’re not looking for introduction before Imola.

“We want to do it right, also, but we shouldn’t expect a miracle – suddenly we are on pole by half a second. I think it’s more like consolidating our place between Ferrari, Aston Martin and us. That would be a good step.”

After the end of a rain-affected second practice session, Wolff said the team gained useful data from running with Russell and Lewis Hamilton on intermediate tyres.

“I think we looked okay on the tyre, but obviously the real competitive cars weren’t out there, but the grip level was good,” Wolff said.

“We tried two different things on both cars – it worked on one, not on the other. So it’s a good direction that we got.”

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2023 Australian Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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8 comments on “No Mercedes upgrades before Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix”

  1. They’re sticking with the same two drivers for now then?

  2. these upgrades better be worth the wait

  3. Indicates to me that someone or a group of someones are still trying to stick with the old design. If the story is ever told, it will be an interesting business school case study in organizational behavior.

  4. So, tomorrow new updates on the car

    1. I’d love to see an April 1st update, but Toto doesn’t sound in the mood for that sort of thing.

      1. Ahah, yes, would be a good idea!

  5. Mercedes are hard to judge. Put simply they aren’t good enough, but if there’s time to be found in their concept they can still easily end the season second fastest. They had better race pace and tyre wear than Ferrari last race and aren’t miles away from Aston and Ferrari. Some small gains in their concept and they’ve got 2nd place locked in.

    Aston have copied Redbull and even used some of their old design team and still cant come close to beating it, so is that really the best direction for Mercedes to take too? They really are between a rock and a hard place and only have 2 options:
    1. Develop their concept and likely end up P2
    2. Copy Redbull where they likely drop back while they understand it and then eventually end up P2

    For a team like Mercedes none of these is ideal. This season has already gone, it’s all about the best foundation for 2024 now.

  6. That’s because Aston is only at beginning of evolving their chassis, which means they’ll gain speed in bigger chunks than their competitors with their upgrades.

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