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Wolff: You can’t reverse engineer the performance

Wolff: You can’t reverse engineer performance

Wolff: You can’t reverse engineer the performance

Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff insisted that making his team’s 2024 Formula 1 car, the W15, into a winning car is not a straightforward process, as you cannot simply copy rivals’ solutions.

Mercedes lost their way ever since the current “ground effect” regulations were launched in 2022. They went in a unique direction with a zero sidepod concept, a decision that backfired spectacularly. In 2024 they took a step back and designed a more conventional car, they didn’t seem to find a solution.

That was until the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix, where Mercedes – with an upgraded W15 – were fastest in qualifying, George Russell taking pole and finishing the unpredictable race in third.

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But the question remains whether Mercedes’ performance in Montreal was a one-off, or whether they have finally managed to unlock the performance they always claimed was hidden within the W15.

Speaking to the media in Canada, including GrandPrix247, Wolff was wary of making any bold predictions, he said: “I’m always a bit worried when you get carried away that everything seems to now fall into place because this is a difficult sport.

“We’ve had this positive trajectory since the last three races and everything seems to be making much more sense. The stopwatch will tell us.

“Definitely since Imola we’ve taken the right steps and put parts on the car that are working,” Wolff went on, “something that we were struggling in the past couple of years and now directionally we seem to be adding performance every weekend.”

Mercedes having more upgrades for Barcelona

“We have new stuff coming also, new parts coming in Barcelona that should help us so I would very much hope that we can continue this positive trajectory.”

Asked how much performance the next upgrade will give Mercedes, Wolff joked: “Two seconds. I can’t tell you.” Adding: “You know, sometimes when things work, interact well with each other.

“Overall flow structure becomes more efficient, you’re able to optimise the right heights and this bit by bit we have found we’ve added more performance. So another step in Barcelona and hopefully we will see it on stopwatch,” he explained.

Wolff was then asked about earlier comments he gave, revealing Mercedes struggling with correlation between their simulations and the track data, and whether solving these issues was behind their improvement.

He responded: “There is no such thing as a silver bullet in Formula 1, therefore it was a constant work of understanding what was wrong. I know that everybody got tired by this answer, but you can’t reverse engineer the performance of the car and say, ‘We’re looking at a Red Bull and this is what we want our car to be.’

“You really need to work your way through the problems. It didn’t seem to correlate between the tunnel and the track, and the car was difficult to drive, we had the bouncing coming back.

“Then we had a clear indication of what we were missing in the jigsaw, and we put that piece in and I think that was important,” the Austrian concluded. (Reporting by Agnes Carlier from Montreal)