Toto Wolff speaks on Red Bull having some advantage in this new era as he reckons a win is more important than P2 finish in F1 2022.

After eight consecutive constructors’ titles, Mercedes gave up their mantle recently when Red Bull triumphed for the first time since 2013, their first win in the hybrid era.  A monopoly perhaps for the Brackley concern ended, who to a large extent benefitted from an advantage early on in the hybrid era after a fine job in development.

While the engine regulation stays the same, the overhaul of the technical regulation has somewhat put Red Bull with some advantage than their rivals after a fine 2022 season. Ferrari gave a fight up it vanished while Mercedes had their own struggles to deal with which left them high and dry and Wolff feels this advantage will help the Austrian team.

He reckons Mercedes lost some development time as they were looking for the root cause of their problems with the design. “Certainly an advantage,” said Wolff when asked about Red Bull having advantage in this era. “But we believe that we understand where the gap comes from”.

“They will carry over some of their sweetness in the car, and we’ve maybe lost eight to 10 months in terms of development because we couldn’t figure out what was wrong. So there’s definitely a challenge. We’re playing the long game here, all of us, both drivers are playing the long game, the team”.

“The judge around the team, performance is not based on a single year or weekend, or how we have been able to win championships over the long term,” summed up Wolff. Mercedes are playing to a certain extent playing “catch up” and are certainly “getting there”.  With two grands prix to run, they are desperate to break their duck for 2022.

Notwithstanding that, they certainly have their mojo back and if they keep up this momentum, how confident can they be of taking it to Red Bull and Ferrari more often in 2023. Wolff doesn’t always see the 100 % of things though especially after how they started off their 2022 campaign. “Never confident,” he started.

“I always see the glass half empty. So there is nothing to really see it positive. I’ve just heard nine wins in a row for Red Bull, so there is no reason to be overwhelmed with finishing second and fourth in Mexico. We have a long way to catch up. We have the winter. I think we’re doing some good development on the car”.

“Some of the things we are finding might be bigger steps than just adding a few steps of downforce. But we’re giving it whatever we have and more in order to bring us back into the position to fight for a championship,” summed up Wolff. Interlagos and Yas Marina are left for Mercedes to salvage a win or two but they also have an outside chance of second behind Red Bull even if they didn’t win either race.

It is a mathematical shot but there in nothing like a race win as Wolff is more looking out for a grand prix win in the remaining two races than thinking about a second place finish. “The win would be proof that our car is back to fight for wins,” he said. “P2 could also be because the others dropped the ball and you’re just scoring more points.”

Interestingly, a third place finish in the standings will also give them extra wind tunnel time to their rivals Red Bull and Ferrari which they sorely need to test and develop more than them in this catch-up game. Overall, second in the constructors’ would be a good result considering the way Mercedes started their campaign.

“It would definitely be some consolation,” said Wolff. “Yeah, second… yeah, because Ferrari had the quickest car at the beginning of the season. Finishing ahead of them would be great, but again, it’s not our main priority. The main priority is to understand the car and have a quick automobile on the track.”

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