Wolff: From ‘awful’ W13 to ‘not good’ W14

Mercedes team principal adjudicated the performance of the team's W14, comparing it with W13 at last year’s Monaco Grand Prix. He says it's gone from “awful” to “not good.” Could it be that bad…………….?

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The new Mercedes W14 was introduced at the Monaco Grand Prix, with the team setting aside the zero-pod concept and embracing bulkier sidepods. In addition to those changes, they are also introducing a new front suspension, cooling system and floor.

It did live up to expectations as it was not the silver bullet Wolff had previously said didn’t exist, and the team didn't manage to enter the competition for pole position or the race win. However, it did quite a good job in closing the gap from last year’s Monaco qualifying where George Russell finished seven-tenths away from pole and this year’s Monaco qualifying where Lewis Hamilton was less than four-tenths down.

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Hamilton finished the Grand Prix in fourth place. Commenting on all this, Wolff said, “It’s so difficult to assess because we were in the mix with Aston Martin and with Ferrari, I would say. On a positive note, maybe encouraging because we have never been really good here.” 

Adding on he went further on to say, “We have been three-tenths behind the pole. Last year was six-tenths, the car was awful last year and this time around the drivers said it’s not good. So, there’s a step in the description. But we really need to be careful. We’ve got to go to Barcelona, collect more data. It’s a new baseline.” 

Expressing his concerns, Wolff commented, “I don’t expect us clearing Aston Martin and Ferrari there either. It is more about understanding what this car does now and how we need to set it up?” 

However, Wolff showed hope and confidence when he said, “We’re really good at grinding away once we decide the development direction. Even with the old package that wasn’t great, it was terrible at the beginning of the season, we managed to win a race in Interlagos in a very dominant way. So, we’re going to get there.”

The team principal really thinks the new W14 will be convenient for proper circuits. Barcelona is set to be the car’s first true test. 

“Here, it’s mainly ride and low-speed downforce,” explained Wolff. “You don’t see that on many other tracks. So, we’re coming to more mid and high speed corners, proper racetracks. It should be good. I think we’ve been better in FP1 actually and FP2 than the rest of the weekend." Concluding he mentioned, “The more the track grips in, the less performant we are. It’s really a lot of learning at the moment because everything is new. We’ve got to just collect the data and set the car up.”

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