Toto Wolf gives worrying news for Lewis Hamilton, it will take Mercedes ‘6 to 12 months’ to get at Red Bull’s ‘knowledge’ level

Mercedes in catch-up mode: Need 6-12 months to match Red Bull's 'knowledge level


Toto Wolf gives worrying news for Lewis Hamilton, it will take Mercedes ‘6 to 12 months’ to get at Red Bull’s ‘knowledge’ level

Toto Wolff and Lewis Hamilton (Credits: Planet F1)

It’s not an overstatement that Mercedes had a sluggish start for their 2023 campaign. They are getting beaten by their customer team, and Aston Martin and Red Bull seem to be walking away with the title very comfortably. Mercedes is back to the drawing board, desperately trying to rebuild their car to a new concept, with Lewis Hamilton’s eighth win aspirations slowly fleeting, now Toto Wolff gives agonizing news saying it’d take “6 to 12 months” to get to the “knowledge level of Red Bull.”

Mercedes’ team boss Toto Wolff spoke to The Race, saying, “I think the lag is probably between six and 12 months because that’s the time that it took for us to figure out what was actually happening with the car.” While many teams are slowly inching toward Red Bull’s design concept, it needs to be seen how Mercedes’ forthcoming car’s concept will be. 

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Wolff’s comments about the length of time it will take Mercedes to catch up to Red Bull’s knowledge level will undoubtedly upset Lewis Hamilton‘s hopes for a record-breaking eighth title as he currently sits fifth, 24 points behind the leader Max Verstappen. Wolff admits that Mercedes has not spent enough time studying where Red Bull finds performance, saying, “We haven’t spent enough time on looking where they find performance because it was important to re-find our own identity, which we did.”

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“Double the development speed,” says Toto Wolff in the race of Mercedes’ catch-up with Red Bull

Max Verstappen chasing Lewis Hamilton
Max Verstappen chasing Lewis Hamilton (Credits: The Athletic)

Red Bull has run their cars with slightly higher rake compared to Mercedes’, before the Downforce cars era, and that might’ve bore fruits to the team in understanding the elevated cars that are now. It is clear that Red Bull has the strongest aerodynamic package, and Mercedes is playing catchup to the Austrian team and is still understanding their car and the new generation cars in general.

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“We just need to have double the development speed, a strong development slope,” Wolff said, adding that “their gains are going to be incrementally smaller if the concept is mature.” Despite the challenges, Wolff remains optimistic and determined to catch up to Red Bull’s level of understanding. Their concept of ‘zero side pods has not brought them the desired results, so their prime focus will be on refining the same along with the underfloor.

“We just want to give it all we have and then see what the outcome of that is. We’ve been able to catch up a lot last year with a car that was bouncing way too much that was in a way overshadowing everything else and finally we won a race and we got close to them. That needs to be the aspiration,” Wolff said.

Mercedes’ start to the 2023 campaign has been anything but ideal, with their customer team Aston Martin beating them and Red Bull running away with the championship. The news that it may take 6 to 12 months for Mercedes to catch up to Red Bull’s knowledge level, according to team boss Toto Wolff, is a blow to Lewis Hamilton’s hopes for an eighth title and that they won’t be in the title contention anytime soon.

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