Mercedes started the 2023 season on a shaky note, but they surprised everyone with a strong qualifying performance at the Australian Grand Prix. The team secured second and third place on the grid, beating the Aston Martin and Ferrari cars. Despite this unexpected success, team boss Toto Wolff urges caution and warns the team not to get carried away.
Mercedes qualified second and third at Albert Park, with George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, respectively, with just 0.2 seconds behind pole-sitter Max Verstappen. Wolff acknowledges the potential of unlocking the car but emphasizes the need for rational thinking. “We need to keep thinking rationally, and what we’ve seen today is that there’s a lot of potential in unlocking the car,” he said. He also stressed the importance of having more downforce in the sweet spot of the car.
Mercedes has struggled in the first two races, being outpaced by Aston Martin; Toto Wolff recognizes this and explains that the team should not swing between euphoria and sadness after one good showing. “These are exactly the swings that we must avoid because obviously you’re delivering such a good qualifying today and it swings into exuberance,” the Austrian said. “And we’re like: ‘Okay everything we thought was wrong, and let’s continue to develop the car’ and then when the next bad result [happens], we think the other way around.”
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Mercedes will continue to their intended design strategy despite a solid outcome
Mercedes are currently redrawing their design concept with a significant upgrade package scheduled for the forthcoming Imola GP, Wolff emphasized that the team must make the correct decisions regardless of the package. “It is clear that we need to take the right decisions for the long term, and in that respect, we will continue to race the best possible package we have, whether that has a narrow body or a wide body is irrelevant,” the Mercedes boss said. However, the question remains whether the strong showing at Albert Park would affect their design process.
Wolff responded by stating that the team already knew where they got it wrong and that there was some goodness in the car. “We have never had any ballpark on what the car needs to look like, we know exactly where we got it wrong, we also know that there’s some goodness in the car, especially if we do every step over the weekend right and are able to extract what is in the car,” he said.
Wolff emphasized that the team should not abandon their chosen development path after a one-off result. “We need to keep thinking rationally,” he said. “We have a long-term plan, and we need to continue with that plan. We need to keep our heads down and keep working hard, as there is still a lot of work to do.” Despite the surprising result, Mercedes does not want to get complacent and abandon their chosen path. They are committed to their long-term plan and will continue to race the best possible package they have. “We need to keep our heads down and keep working hard,” Wolff said. “We are not getting carried away with one good result, and we need to focus on the long term.”
Mercedes surprised everyone with their strong showing at the Australian Grand Prix, but Toto Wolff warned the team not to get carried away. Mercedes has committed to changing their car concept with an upgrade package set to be released at the Imola Grand Prix. Despite their impressive showing at the Australian Grand Prix, Wolff is adamant that the team will stick to their plan and not deviate from their chosen development path.
In case you missed it:
- F1 Australian GP: Oscar Piastri disheartened after a dismal qualifying run in front of the home crowd