Toto Wolff is convinced Mercedes can get back into the game in 2024, with the team winning again. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is convinced that his team can “get back in the game” in 2024 by building on the progress made by McLaren and Aston Martin this season in Formula 1. Perhaps a shocking statement considering the dominance of Red Bull and the inconsistent results by Mercedes.
After winning eight world championships in Formula 1, the Mercedes team found it more difficult from 2022 onwards, when an entirely new set of regulations was introduced in Formula 1 to facilitate overtaking and therefore the spectacle.
2023, a year to forget
Since the start of the 2023 campaign, Mercedes has clearly made progress compared to 2022, but the German manufacturer’s team – currently in second place – is still more than 300 points (310 pts) behind current leader Red Bull, who should – barring any cataclysms – win both the drivers’ and constructors’ titles this season.
When asked if he thought it was realistic for Mercedes to challenge Red Bull next season in 2024 given the progress his team has made so far, Toto Wolff replied:
“From where we are, we just need a step like McLaren and Aston Martin did in one go, not a two-tenths improvement, but a five-tenths improvement to get back in the game. So, yes, I think it’s possible,” said Wolff, quoted by the championship website.
Asked if Mercedes knew what direction to take in order to make up those five tenths, the Austrian replied:
“I think we have some guidelines…
“If we knew, it would be a lot easier. The car is very unpredictable and lacks grip, so there are a lot of things to sort out.”
“We have a bit too much of a tendency to think that in F1 there is a magic bullet that will unlock everything. But we just need to put all the components together to make them work together in the car, but I won’t go into details.”
Caution ahead of Singapore
As for Mercedes’ immediate prospects, starting with this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix at Marina Bay, Toto Wolff is rather cautious about his team’s objectives for this fifteenth meeting of the year on a tricky track.
“From last year to this year, we have to be cautious in our forecasts,” added Toto Wolff.
“We could say that because we’ll have a lot of downforce, we’ll be behind Red Bull. But the truth is that we don’t know. The teams in second to sixth place can be quite close to each other. We’re talking about us, Ferrari, McLaren and Aston Martin.
“But we’re scoring consistently with both our cars and we’re solidly second in the championship, and hopefully soon, third in the drivers’ championship with Lewis [Hamilton]. So we’re doing the best job we can given the car’s lack of performance.”
McLaren’s progress could inspire Mercedes
McLaren outdid themselves at Silverstone, challenging Max Verstappen for victory with Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri.
Aston Martin’s start to the season has been spectacular (especially Fernando Alonso), Ferrari gave their fans (a little) hope at Monza… and Mercedes have not yet found the means to get back into the fight for victory.
“There are several solutions to move forward. But if we knew exactly what to do, it would be a lot easier,” he admits.
“Our car is quite unpredictable, lacks a lot of grip and has a number of things to work on. “
However, the Marina Bay circuit, which requires a lot of downforce, could be suitable for the W14. It would allow us to “finish just behind Red Bull,” laughs Toto Wolff.
But this season it’s difficult to break away from a very compact midfield: “From second to sixth, it’s very close,” he says.
“At least we often manage to score points with both cars. To get closer to Red Bull, for example by 2024, we need to make a step forward like McLaren and Aston Martin have done recently.
“Given our car, we are doing the best possible job. “
Ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix, Mercedes is second in the constructors’ championship with a 45-point lead over Scuderia Ferrari.
— Formula 1 (@F1) September 12, 2023