Mercedes will divert its resources to development for 2024, says Toto Wolff, explaining that further improvements to the W14 will predominantly come from set-up optimisation.
The Brackley-based squad began the year in disappointing fashion, putting all their eggs in the ‘zeropod’ basket and receiving a rude awakening at the Bahrain GP.
Although senior personnel at Mercedes insist their new development direction goes beyond their sidepods, switching to a more conventional design marked a clear change in the team’s approach.
James Vowles was called upon to rectify the situation early in the year, taking the role of technical director and replacing Mike Elliot. Time will tell if this decision pays dividends.
It was inevitable that – after committing to a new philosophy – Mercedes would have to make short-term sacrifices. Therefore, Red Bull’s continued dominance with the RB19 is not yet a death sentence for the German constructor’s decision.
Next year, with greater freedom to implement large-scale changes to the W15, will provide a clearer image of the trajectory at Brackley.
Speaking in an interview, Toto Wolff has outlined the decision to switch focus to next year:
“The sails are set for 2024 now. We still have some updates to come with the W14, but I find switching focus to next year good,” he told RACER.
“Because there is so much we can optimise on the current car without looking too much into upgrades.
“Let’s see how we can get it into more of a sweet spot while gaining lots of understanding for next year.
“The more learnings we can find, the better placed we will be for 2024 and beyond.”
Most teams will be taking a similar course of action, as evidenced by Red Bull’s confirmation before the summer break that 2024 was now the priority.
However, Mercedes’ immediate rivals (including Aston Martin and McLaren) still have notable upgrade packages due for the rest of 2023.
Although starting next year with a strong foundation is the priority, it will still be crucial to utilise the remaining ten rounds this season effectively.
Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang