Toto Wolff: Mercedes drivers at odds over US GP car upgrade

Mercedes brought a new floor to the 2023 US GP with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell having differing opinions as to its effectiveness

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Toto Wolff says that George Russell and Lewis Hamilton have contrasting opinions about the new floor debuted by the team at the 2023 United States Grand Prix.

It’s anticipated, by Hamilton, to be the final major upgrade of the season for the Silver Arrows before they change their attention to the W15 for 2024 and he hopes that it would bring them closer to the competition.

Technical Director for the Brackley team, James Allison, also said that he expects it to work unilaterally and be worth approximately a tenth of a second when he spoke to F1 Nation.

During FP1 at the Circuit of the Americas, Mercedes had a decent result as Hamilton finished an encouraging third whilst Russell was sixth, a further three tenths back from his experienced colleague but both were within half a second of Max Verstappen‘s fastest time.

Toto Wolff at 2023 United States Grand Prix | Mercedes / Sebastian Kawka

However, the Mercedes boss noted that the pair have contrasting opinions on the new package during their feedbacks.

“The lap-time was competitive the Lewis was able to to post,” Wolff said to the media. “But it’s not like that the car is is suddenly super fast.

“In certain areas he feels more comfortable and George, on the other side, wasn’t satisfied with how the car was going for him.”

Following Qualifying, Hamilton was full of praise for the new upgrade, branding it the best in two years for Mercedes.

“This is an improvement,” Hamilton told the media. “This is one of the first upgrades that I’ve actually felt over the last two years.

“So that’s a positive and we just need two or three times of this step to put us in super competitive mode.”

Mercedes still chasing previous level of success

Wolff was told that Mercedes have won 112 races since the start of the turbo-hybrid era in 2014, with the 2023 US GP representing the 200th race of the said era.

The Austrian took that as motivation and encouraged his team to hit those previous heights, noting the previous relationship between their aerodynamics branch and power unit branch.

“Number 112. I think we we we had a really good run,” Wolff added to media. “Thanks to the efforts that were made in Brixworth, we had sensational power unit straight from the get go.

“We were very competitive from 2014 onwards, and then since then chassis and power units have never let let each other down, besides maybe the bad 2022 season and so far, but it’s a good number.

“That means more than 50% of wins, but it’s become more difficult recently and that’s a challenge we were taking on. Let’s see if we can add a few more in the current engine regulations.”

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