Toto Wolff speaks on various topics relating to their preparedness and approach with the W14 and F1 2023 season.

Mercedes latest charge – the W14 – took to the track last week in damp conditions at Silverstone to positive acclaim from George Russell and Lewis Hamilton during its filming day. For the Brackley team, they will hope for a better start to the 2023 campaign than last season after ending 2022 on a better note in the better direction.

In one change, Mercedes F1 chief Wolff noted how last year got them to change their testing programme where they showcased the W14 at the launch event which will largely be present as the same for the Bahrain pre-season test and likely the first race too. It retains the zero sidepod figure but there is no definite that it will be same throughout.

With the bold concept, it is now the evolution part which Wolff noted that they will do so in 2023 which is same for the aero direction they take. One big talking point of weight still remains a mystery for Mercedes despite going black with more carbon scheme. Wolff didn’t wish to divulge if they were underweight but stated they are happy with limit they wanted.

Only the course of the year will shed more on weight side and Wolff has been very cautious and realistic about their 2023 prospects with less talk of decimating oppositions and taking back the title. They await how the car performs and to continue pushing, they are keeping the W13 in the lobby of Brackley as a reminder that they can fail too.

Weight issues –

Wolff: “I can’t tell you much about the weight. Of course, we calculate everything up and down in hundreds of grams and the sum of all the savings then naturally adds up to a kilo or more. About the floor edges that was exposed last year…. what I meant, was simply the rear part of the floor. It stuck out relatively far. We had the option not to put additional brackets under the bodywork. That’s what we did this year. It’s much wider at the back and of course brings the advantages I mentioned.

“We’re on the weight limit of what we wanted to achieve. And obviously, when we looked at all the weight savings, everybody needed to make a commitment. And so it is really a performance issue. But then there is not tons of weight that you can save on the paint, but it shows the intent of what we do. And the narrative is just right, not only because of the historical context of how the Silver Arrows were created, but also because our attempt in painting the car black two years ago is still very valid. So it all kind of made sense.”

Sidepods and its evolution –

Wolff: “I think it’s important to be bold in the sport. I’m still proud of the solutions that were put in the car last year. Our sidepod design is not something that we believe was fundamentally the reason why we didn’t perform. There is no holy cows in our concept. It’s not that we don’t want to follow anybody’s ideas. We kept staying you could well see some development from now on, with the narrow sidepod. That could be coming with the upgrades and the sidepods will change. Not very soon, but we are we’re looking at solutions. But as we judge it’s not a core fundamental performance part.”

Same aero concept, decision making process –

Wolff: “During the season, we have analysed back and forth, whether it was right or not. You can see the sidepods that are very different to any other car. But we believe that this is not the performance relative part. Obviously, there is no such thing as a holy cow here. We are looking at everything. And on the sidepods this is the first iteration, and when we’re going the first few races, that’s going to change a little bit. But like Mike said in the launch, you want to change your concept completely, you’re making not one step back, but probably two or three. And that’s why we stayed where we are. And I love the fact that we are bold, we stayed bold, and we are just continuing to follow what the science for us.”

Test schedule of parts –

Wolff: “Last year, we learned a tough lesson. Because for test number two, we knew that we are going to bring an upgrade package, that was worth one second and a half. And in a way then, looking at the first test, you know that’s not really relevant because that’s not going to be the car. Then we put the car on the track, and it wasn’t performing at all, as we expected. So, this year we went the other way around. What you’ve seen is for a large part the car that we are going to race. And also the car that we’re going to test. It’s fundamentally important to understand the platform and how the car behaves, rather than keeping some bits in the background that may add a tenth of two on pure aero performance.”

2022 car still in the lobby at Brackley –

Wolff: “It’s going to go in the lobby. But I’ve changed my approach a little bit, because I wanted to put it in a lobby, as a reminder not to rest on our laurels. Actually, I want to place it in the lobby because for me, it is a symbol of boldness and courage. We took a radical design direction last year. We dared, and we failed. So, for me that shows a lot the mindset of team, how to cope with success or failure at the same time. I wouldn’t want us to go in any shape or form conservative. I want us to take calculated risk and be bold.”

Concerns over commencing 2023 slowly –

Wolff: “On one side, when we talked about the press release, you want to say we will be competitive. On the other side, you need to stay humble and realistic. So you could be saying, I hope that we will be competitive. The midway is that we know we will competitive. We just don’t know when. And that is the surprise. in terms of our performance, we are on the slope that we wanted to be in. But then you also don’t know where the other ones are. Humility is most important. We’ve always tried to be humble. Especially after last year we need to remind ourselves, we were quite far off in the season.”

Here’s Mick Schumacher on his role and drive

Here’s Lewis Hamilton, Toto Wolff on the contract

Here’s Mercedes pair on W14 run

Here’s info on mini filming run

Here’s 2023 Mercedes car

Here’s George Russell on taking help