Despite their aggressive approach, Toto Wolff admits that Mercedes isn’t guaranteed to fight Red Bull in 2024. In any case, Wolff explains that his team will be aggressive in its development plan for next season.
Mercedes have plenty of catching up to do, with the season finale in Abu Dhabi underscoring Red Bull’s dominance. Although Max Verstappen was regularly challenged on Saturday qualifying, his supremacy in race trim was unquestioned in 2023.
The German constructor showed occasional signs of promise, as evidenced by Hamilton’s efforts in COTA. However, his post-race disqualification and the RB19’s subsequent race wins took away any enthusiasm about Mercedes potentially stealing a victory.
After the team’s first win-less season since 2011, Toto Wolff is hopeful the team can reassert itself in the battle for victories. In theory, the last twelve months have been an adjustment period – to help facilitate a big step over winter.
Wolff promises significant evolution
To achieve this goal, the Mercedes team principal explains the radical steps being taken for 2024:
“A different chassis, different aerodynamics, different characteristics, different suspension,” he told the media.
“Everything that we can change, we [will] change.
“So far, the results in the virtual world [the simulator] are positive. But we need to be careful in terms of managing our expectations.
“We need such a [big] step to catch up to the fight for a Championship.”
Ultimately, in the famous words of the Austrian team boss, the stopwatch will determine success or failure at Mercedes. The Brackley-based team didn’t enjoy spending the entire 2023 season without a race victory.
With only two seasons left with these current F1 regulations, time is running short for the Silver Arrows. If they cannot close the gap over winter, then becoming genuine title contenders before 2026 seems unlikely.
James Allison and his technical team are clearly taking risks to catch Red Bull, but only time will tell if the Austrian outfit can be displaced.
Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang