Formula One

Wolff confident Mercedes W14 ‘is a car we can work with’


Toto Wolff says Mercedes is confident it has a car it can work with this season although it expects to play catch-up with its main rivals in the opening races of 2023.

The Brackley squad concluded pre-season testing last week in Bahrain with mixed feelings, having enjoyed a strong start to its preparations at Sakhir before suffering reliability and balance issues on day 2.

Lewis Hamilton nevertheless exited the three-day test with the second fastest time overall behind Red Bull pace setter Sergio Perez.

“We didn’t have the smoothest winter test in Bahrain,” commented Wolff in the team’s Bahrain Grand Prix preview.

“We had some reliability problems and struggled with the car set-up on day two. But the key objective was to learn about the car, and we did lots of learning.

“We made good progress on the final day, which gave us directions to work on in the short period between the test and this weekend’s race.”


Wolff says Mercedes will likely begin its season in catch-up mode relative to Red Bull and Ferrari, but only the test of a full-scale race weekend will confirm, or not, that expectation.

“It’s always hard to have a clear picture of competitiveness at pre-season testing – and even more so with only three days of data available,” said the Austrian.

“Our expectations were that we would likely be playing catch-up to the front, based on how last year ended. That seems to be the case so far but we will only know for sure after this weekend.

“Nevertheless, we are confident we have got a car we can work with and are in a stronger position than 12 months ago.

“More importantly, we are relishing the challenge. This championship will be fought over 23 race weekends, and each one will give us an opportunity to improve.”

It’s only been about 100 days since the end of last year’s F1 season, but Wolff says his troops are ready to kick into gear and go “flat out” from this weekend for the next nine months.

“The start of a new season is always exciting, whether you’ve been working in this sport for a few decades, years or weeks,” he said.

“So much hard work has gone into the W14 over the winter and the anticipation to be get racing has kept on building.

“We will be going flat out this weekend – and are determined to keep that going to the final lap in Abu Dhabi.”

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Wolff confident Mercedes W14 ‘is a car we can work with’

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