Wolff: Difficult to catch Red Bull or Ferrari in 2023

Wolff: Difficult to catch Red Bull or FerrariMercedes boss Toto Wolff admits that there are no guarantees his team can catch Red Bull and Ferrari at the start of the 2023 Formula 1 season, starting from half a second behind on pace.

Mercedes had a terrible F1 season in 2022, their W13 a far cry from the Silver Machines we have become used to seeing emerging from the factory at Brackley.

The 2022 Mercedes, despite being innovative with its “zeropod” concept, was woefully off the pace with a great tendency for bouncing or “porpoising”.

Now Mercedes look forward to making amends with their 2023 F1 car, the W14, which they will launch on February 15, 2023, after being the first team in firing it up back in December 2022.

Speaking to the media about the new car and the expectations that come with it, Wolff said: “I think we have understood how we fell back, where the shortcomings are, and where we have gaps in understanding.

Sticking to same concept with the W14?

“We’re working hard on putting a car on the ground that has addressed all of that. But we will only see when starting testing whether we have unlocked the potential that we believe has always been in the car,” he added, hinting that Mercedes will persist with the “zeropod” concept of 2022.

However, the Austrian was managing the expectations for 2023; he explained: “We have no doubt, when you’re starting behind by half a second, that it’s going to be difficult to catch up to such great organisations like Red Bull, or Ferrari.

“Now, having said that, we are super determined in doing just that. But we need to set our expectations at a realistic level.

“If we perform in the way we hope, then we’d like to be part of the racing at the very front. I think that would be a starting point. But we don’t take that for granted. It could well be that the gaps are like they were at the end of last season,” Wolff pointed out.

“I think there is so much potential still within our car, within the concept, the way we drive the car, etc, that maybe our development slope can be steeper in the months to come,” the 50-year-old concluded.

Mercedes finished the 2022 F1 season third on the Constructors’ Championship, as they improved over the course of the season, but won only one race with George Russell – the 2022 Sao Paulo Grand Prix.