Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, previewed the upcoming Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola, and revealed the team has been hard at work over Easter to try and improve the W13 ahead of the race.
Mercedes’ 2022 Formula 1 campaign has been a far cry from has become expected of the eight-time Constructors’ Champions, as their W13 proved to be a handful to their drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell this year.
“We know we haven’t got the pace of the Ferrari and Red Bull right now,” Toto Wolff said in Mercedes’ preview of the race at Imola.
“But we’re working hard to reduce their advantage, and it’s been brilliant to see everyone across the factories pulling together to achieve this,” he added.
“There’s been a lot of hard work over the Easter weekend in the factory to bring improvements to the car and get it ready to head to the next race, and that shows the team’s dedication to turning the situation around.
“Of course, we must be realistic, it will take time to make the gains we want, but we’re learning as much as we can from each race and finding avenues to push us forward,” the Austrian explained.
“Now we look ahead to Imola and the first Sprint event of the season,” Wolff went on. “It’s an historic, old-school circuit with a challenging layout that the drivers really enjoy.
Qualifying is key at Imola
“Qualifying is important owing to the narrow track, while its sweeping nature really puts the cars to the test. We’re looking forward to seeing how 2022 machinery tackles Imola,” he said.
Mercedes, however, have been able to maximize their results this season, and capitalized on the reliability woes of Red Bull, and such find themselves second in the Constructors’ Standings behind Ferrari, while Russell also sits 34 points behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in second as well.
“Melbourne was a great weekend for Formula One, the atmosphere was incredible, and it was wonderful to be back in Australia in front of so many fans,” Wolff reflected on the race where Russell and Hamilton finished third and fourth respecitively.
“For us, the race went better than we expected, especially after a difficult Friday,” he claimed. “George and Lewis were both on strong form all weekend and delivered a useful haul of points for the Team.
“We learned a lot and really maximized the opportunities available, and that’s what we need to keep doing,” the Mercedes boss vowed.
A challenging race for Mercedes in Italy
Mercedes’ Motorsport Strategy Director James Vowles added on Mercedes’ YouTube channel: “Imola is going to be a challenging event.
“It is our first sprint race of the season, so unlike previous events where we had FP1, FP2 and FP3 really to get to grips with the car and test how we are going to improve the car performance, we now just have one free practice session and that free practice session dominates what happens in qualifying and in the race, so it is very limited in terms of what we can learn and what we can do.
“When we get back to the European season, teams would generally bring more performance upgrades, and I suspect you will see an evolution of our competitors, Vowles explained.
“We need to make sure we, at the very minimum, keep up with that,” the Mercedes strategy boss insisted.
Imola prep. 💪 LH logging those laps in the Sim.
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) April 20, 2022