McLaren doing an Aston Martin is a “good example” for Mercedes – Wolff

2023 British Grand Prix

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McLaren’s sudden emergence as the second-fastest team in Formula 1 this weekend gives Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff encouragement about the progress they can make.

In the first race where both MCL60s are running the team’s major upgrade package, McLaren claimed second and third on the grid for today’s British Grand Prix, behind pole-winner Max Verstappen. Wolff likened the gains McLaren has made to Aston Martin’s leap forward following the end of last season.

“I think it’s very encouraging to see that Aston Martin found massive chunks of lap time from last year to this year,” he said. “And in the same way you see that within the season McLaren are doing that.

“That is something that you need to take your hat off to, if we see that consolidating, and certainly for us a good example of how you can turn around things.”

While Red Bull have been undefeated so far this year, several different teams have been their closest rivals at different races. “It’s quite weird how that fluctuates,” Wolff admitted. “You would have said for a long time into the season that Aston Martin was the second force and probably our biggest competitor, obviously with Ferrari.

“Then suddenly you have McLaren in the mix in Austria, clearly one car had the upgrade and he was very fast. Today both cars have the upgrade and they are second and third on the grid. So absolutely it seems like they have made a massive step in understanding and performance.”

Formula 1 is in its third season since introducing a cap on teams’ spending and the Aerodynamic Testing Regulations which handicap the top performances in the championship by limiting their development time. Wolff said the close competition behind Red Bull shows these rules have worked.

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“We have all been part and active in designing regulations which would allow, over time, smaller teams to catch up and level the playing field. If you look at Albon today on single-lap performance he is right there, and Aston coming back like we discussed before and McLaren. It’s what we wanted.

“If you take Max out of the equation – having said that, I mean, he’s four-tenths quicker than the top eight teams on a 90-second lap, so that’s not a huge chunks anymore – but everybody else is within two-tenths. From P2 to [P7] is two-tenths and that shows us that the regulations work.

“It’s damn tough and it’s going to continue to be like this, but we knew that.”

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton qualified within six-hundredths of a second of each other for Mercedes in sixth and seventh places. That was several places higher than the team achieved during practice on Friday, where it introduced a new front wing for its W14, and Wolff believes they got the most out of their package as it stands.

“I think everything performed as we expected. We had to find our reference points yesterday that’s why on the stopwatch maybe it didn’t look too great. But everything was solid and there was nothing we could say today didn’t perform as expected. Just not good enough.”

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2023 British Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
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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4 comments on “McLaren doing an Aston Martin is a “good example” for Mercedes – Wolff”

  1. Aston Martin seems to have fizzled out though. They are getting worse and worse with every race. Alonso says it’s a circuit-related thing, with Barcelona, Spielberg and Silverstone all in the same boat. By that sense, Hungaroring in two weeks’ time should be promising for Aston Martin, ‘coz it’s another unusual circuit, a bit like Monaco without walls. And they did come painfully close to pole position in Monaco. They were also competitive in Montreal. So hoping for an improvement in form at Hungary. Still, I feel Aston Martin has lost out in the development race, ‘coz Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren and even Williams seem to have overtaken them. Judging by Q1 and Q2 performances at Silverstone though, I thought Alonso would qualify a lot higher in Q3. Too bad!

  2. Yes, it’s interesting how close they are, and if you took away red bull this would be a very interesting season with, depending on the race, ferrari, merc, aston and mclaren fighting for the win and a really bunched up field.

    I’m not saying it would be sufficient to replace verstappen with a mediocre driver cause perez showed when he’s on it it’s not possible to beat him on this red bull, and it’s because of the verstappen comparison that he’s suffering; I think 2 perez on that red bull would be unbeatable at this stage of the season.

  3. Redbull, or should i say Verstappen, still had plenty in the tank if they needed it.

  4. Prashanth Ramadas
    11th July 2023, 1:28

    Mercedes is a very strong team. They highly lack views although.

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