Toto Wolff believes Mercedes’ deficit is still too great and still sees Red Bull as the favourites going into the 2023 Formula 1 season, a damning statement on his teams’ chances of contesting for wins and the F1 championship next year.
With the Silver Arrows poorly conceived, 2022 is inevitably the year to forget for the Mercedes team, they are in danger of not winning a single race in the season for the first time since 2011. It seems that the team boss thinks the same thing will happen next year as Red Bull has stolen a march already on developement.
After winning the last eight constructors’ championships and seven drivers’ titles over the period between 2014 and 2021, Mercedes is now being dethroned on both counts. The team is aware of a serious design issue with its 2022 car and has already turned its attention to developing the 2023 W14, bringing a final update to Austin for 2022.
“Obviously, we’ve lacked a lot of development time for 2023 to learn more about porpoising and understanding all these things,” Wolff told Channel 4.
“So clearly Red Bull is in a very good position, not only for this year, but also for the beginning of next year.”
W13 development chaotic
The Austrian acknowledges that the development of the W13 has been chaotic: the car has notably not allowed Lewis Hamilton to be competitive against Max Verstappen, who was his greatest rival last season. Far from it, Hamilton may not win a single race this season, which is something he has never done in F1.
“But having said that, if we were to continue our understanding and development of the car, I think we could catch up quickly. And it’s a learning-by-doing exercise at the moment,” admits the Mercedes team principal.
“Our simulations don’t always give us the right results, compared to what the car will do on track, but that’s what makes it interesting,” concludes Toto Wolff.
Hamilton coy over next years’ chances
Lewis Hamilton echoed his team boss’s statements but was more bullish on the teams chances during an interview with Sky Sports F1 saying:
“I think for us, we know what the problems are with this car. I believe as a team, we’ve not gone from being World Champions and being able to build a good car to not building a good car,
“I have no doubt we’ll have a better car next year. Whether or not we’ve rectified every issue we have this year, we’ll find out when we get there.”
The Mercedes team is currently third in the constructors’ championship, 67 points behind Ferrari.