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Wolff: Mercedes W15 will allow drivers to consistently push

wolff hamilton mercedes

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team are hoping to start the 2024 season strong at the upcoming Bahrain Grand Prix, team boss Toto Wolff is optimistic their W15 will be be better than last year’s car.

The Brackley-based outfit ended last year’s campaign second in the Constructors’ Championship behind Oracle Red Bull Racing. However, they were far off the pace of the runaway Champions with less than half of the latter’s total points tally.

Mercedes’ most notable pitfall was their flawed “zero-pod” aerodynamic design, which gave rise to an unpredictable car which only functioned optimally in a very narrow window.

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Improvements were made in 2023 following a frustrating 2022 season where the team finished third in the Standings, but 2024 necessitated a complete overhaul in design philosophy to aid in closing the gap to the dominant Red Bull.

With veteran driver Lewis Hamilton entering his 12th and final season with the German team, there is extra incentive to fight for wins and Titles to send the 39-year-old off on a positive note. The seven-time World Champion seems confident he will end his career with Mercedes on a high.

Teammate George Russell will most likely take the reigns as the more experienced driver from 2025 onwards, and will therefore want to impress in the driving seat after a disappointing 2023.

Wolff weighs in on the W15 ahead of #BahrainGP

mercedes w15 russell bahrain testing

Toto Wolff, CEO and Team Principal of Mercedes, has given us valuable insight into the overall mood in the paddock and initial expectations heading into the Bahrain Grand Prix later this week.

The Mercedes boss harked back to the difficulties faced with the W13 and W14 of 2022 and 2023 respectively, and explained how he believes this year’s W15 won’t suffer from the same issues.

He said: “Each of the last two seasons, we’ve headed to the first race of the year on the back foot.

“There was inherent goodness in the W13 and W14, but it often proved too difficult to unlock. They were inconsistent machines. Our main aim going into 2024 therefore was clear: create a consistent and stable platform.”

With a more predictable driving machine, the drivers behind the wheel are able to extract more performance from the car without the fear of overstepping its boundaries. Wolff continued: “A car that would react as we expected. One that the drivers could consistently push.

“And one that we can develop throughout the year, in the knowledge that we are bringing real-world performance to the track.”

Pre-season testing went relatively well for Mercedes, as they recorded a total of 361 laps over the three days. While it is hard to gauge relative pace compared to the nine other teams at this stage, Wolff is full of optimism for the season ahead.

Red Bull likely to set the pace with Mercedes looking to lead the challengers

russell verstappen f1 bahrain testing

Wolf continued: “After pre-season testing though, we can draw some initial conclusions. The drivers are much happier with the overall balance.

“The basic platform is working as we expected. The correlation to our simulations looks to be accurate. This is all encouraging. It’s a good foundation that we can build on.”

With regards to the pecking order, Wolff predicted: “Red Bull, as is to be expected, look to be at the head of the field. The chasing pack looks tight. We will soon get an idea of where we stack up in that. And the task that is ahead of us to close the gap to the front.”

Nevertheless, the team is in high spirits as the clock ticks down towards the opening round of the 24-race campaign. Wolff concluded: “Wherever we net out though, the whole team is relishing the challenge ahead. There is a palpable sense of energy running through the factories and those trackside.

“The year ahead is long. There will be many ups, along with the inevitable downs. But this is why we love racing. And now, we can’t wait to get going.”

The first race of the 2024 F1 World Championship will take place at the Bahrain International Circuit on Saturday March 2 at 18:00 local time.