After a difficult beginning to the 2023 F1 season, Toto Wolff has indicated that Mercedes may follow a design path similar to that of Aston Martin given their leap in pace over the winter.
Mercedes introduced a radically different concept following the 2022 regulation changed with slimed down sidepods being a standout feature. But with Wolff already admitting this needs changed, the path Mercedes could follow seems set.
“I think it’s pretty clear where we should be going,” Wolff told the press, when asked if other teams such as Aston Martin provide a clear path that Mercedes should be following.
“We just need to make the data work and I think the most important [thing] is re-establishing a solid baseline. Say this is where we are. There’s no surprises in the other direction.
“When you look at where we were at the end of the  season, where it seems like we caught up a lot and it was just a matter of which circuit suited us and which not.
“I think we’ve almost doubled, if not tripled, the gap to Red Bull. And this is what we need to look at everything in between the Ferrari, the Aston [Martin] that’s just a sideshow.
“And having said that, what Aston Martin was able to achieve, is a good inspiration. Because they came came back from two seconds off the pace to being second quickest team, probably on the road.”
Big Mercedes changes coming
With such an early admission that the Mercedes concept is not working, Wolff was quick to point out that there will be big changes to the design.
“The drivers are fully aware [of the change in direction],” Wolff said. “I mean we’re speaking about it openly in in the whole team.
“It’s not a such thing that anybody isn’t aware, I think everyone is aware, this is not a matter of finding three tenths and polishing the car up.
“This is a matter of serious, serious performance that we need to find in order to put us back in a situation to fight for race wins and championships.
“I’m not overreacting or under reacting, as a matter of fact, the gap is very big. And in order to catch up, you need make big steps, not the conventional ones by adding a few points every week. Because everybody else is gonna do that.”
Long term planning
Wolff also confirmed that Mercedes had been feeling out different concepts before the 2023 F1 season started, while also trying to improve on the current design as much as possible.
“We’ve looked at other ideas and haven’t stood still,” Wolff admitted. |That’s not only since two weeks when we saw that we haven’t been able to close the gap.
“But we’ve done it since a while just to be open minded, and still with an emphasis on making this work, obviously. But we’ve already looked at different concepts.”