Toto Wolff admits beating Red Bull isn’t a target for Mercedes in 2024

Mercedes are confident they'll be racing closer to the front in the 2024 F1 world championship after just one win in two seasons

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Toto Wolff didn’t list beating Red Bull as one of Mercedes‘ aims for 2024, instead focussing on consistently sitting at the front of the pack behind amongst Ferrari, McLaren and Aston Martin and picking up more headline results.

Mercedes were second in the constructors’ championship for most of 2023 but ended up clinching that spot by just three points from Ferrari, and rarely had the outright second-quickest car over the season.

Aston Martin, McLaren and Ferrari all enjoyed superiority in that battle across the beginning, middle and end of 2023 with Mercedes picking up enough points as regularly the third-best team to secure runner-up in the championship, and Wolff highlighted that battle at the team’s car launch rather than trying to catch the dominant Red Bull.

“We got it wrong with the new regulations but when you look back you’re going to read that we finished first eight times in a row and then third and second in the constructors, it looks like it was a respectable result,” Wolff said as Mercedes unveiled the W15 E Performance.

“But this isn’t counting another team and another driver winning most of the races. So our aim is to consolidate our positions towards Ferrari, McLaren, Aston Martin and be in the forward part of that group. And at the same time trying to race at the very front.”

“We’re determined to do this but at the same time we know how difficult it is because you’re step behind your main competitor that has got it right from the get-go. But we love the challenge and this is why all of us so eager to see the car that we’re driving.”

Wolff: Mercedes must look inwards

Mercedes-AMG F1 W15 E Performance Launch | Mercedes F1 Team / Finn Pomeroy

While Mercedes have been hampered by specific issues since the regulation change – most notable porpoising in 2022 – their biggest overarching problem has been a failure to accurately predict and model how their car will perform.

The team have too often been derailed by starting FP1 on a grand prix weekend and realising their car isn’t close to where they expected. Even their only grand prix win in the new regulations, at the 2022 Sao Paulo Grand Prix, was a race where they expected to be relatively uncompetitive compared to the rest of the season.

However, after launching a completely rethought car for 2024, Wolff is confident Mercedes have finally solved that problem and is looking forward to finding out in their shakedown run and Bahrain pre-season testing.

“I think are most important is that you look inwards: What is it that we got wrong? Why is it that the virtual world not correlate with the real world?” Wolff added. “And I think we found some clues, we went into the direction and we tried to eliminate possible variables.

“We know it’s difficult, we know it’s a big mountain to climb because if a team is far ahead, like Red Bull was last year, that’s not easy. But we’ve got a superb driver combination, hopefully the factory are giving it all in order to succeed and I think there’s very good ingredients.”

Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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