Toto Wolff revealed Mercedes have some ‘really interesting’ developments for 2024 already in the pipeline, speaking after Lewis Hamilton dropped from pole position to fourth in the Hungarian GP.
Mercedes entered the 2023 season expecting to challenge for the world championship, but have been blown away by Red Bull and currently have less than half as many constructors’ championship points as their Milton Keynes rivals.
That means focus is already turned to 2024, with Red Bull hindered by less aerodynamic testing capacity due to their 2021 cost cap breach, as Mercedes try to reduce the chasm to the frontrunners.
“I think that we need a lot of changes in 2024 and the direction our team is developing is really quite interesting,” Wolff told the media. “We see opportunities and we’re not shying away of leaving no stone unturned, looking at every single concept.
“Every single concept that we’ve seen on other cars, whether that’s powerful or not, whether this is of any use for us without letting ourselves be distracted from the way we operate, the way we analyze better.”
The 2023 Hungarian Grand Prix was a deathly illustration of the gulf from Mercedes to Red Bull. Lewis Hamilton celebrated a stunning pole position by just 0.003s from Max Verstappen – the first time Mercedes have topped a meaningful session since George Russell won the 2022 Brazilian GP – but it was all downhill from there.
Having compromised qualifying to have the fastest possible car in the grand prix, Verstappen overtook Hamilton in the first corner and was never seen again by Mercedes or anyone else. The Dutchman won by 33 seconds from second-placed Lando Norris and Hamilton was almost 40 seconds back, leaving more introspection for Mercedes.
Wolff insists Mercedes haven’t abandoned 2023 yet
However, Wolff reiterated Mercedes are still pushing for the best possible end to the 2023 season too.
Another disappointing grand prix for Fernando Alonso means Lewis Hamilton is just six points behind the Spaniard heading into Spa, while Mercedes have a 39-second lead over Ferrari for second in the constructor’s championship.
Meanwhile McLaren are the talk of the paddock after a stunning resurgence following recent upgrades, they’ve not been outside the top five with those developments since Austria and recorded back-to-back podiums for the first time since 2012.
“I wouldn’t want to give up any season,” Wolff said. “You can see how McLaren has leapfrogged everybody else with an update that they didn’t expect to come in that powerful.
“They gained a second probably and leapfrogged Aston Martin, Ferrari, who’ve been really strong contenders at the beginning of the season and now they’re nowhere.
“So we just need to continue working and chipping away of our understanding and unlocking potential in the car as did Aston Martin over the winter or McLaren during the season and we won’t give up.”