Inspired by the actions of rivals McLaren and Aston Martin, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is confident that his team can ‘get back in the game’ and take the fight to Red Bull next season.
Despite winning eight constructors’ championships on the bounce, Mercedes had experienced a challenging start to F1’s new ground effect era in 2022 and is still battling to return to its fully competitive ways.
The Silver Arrows are 310 points behind leaders Red Bull in the constructors’ standings. No surprise really as Red Bull has won every race since last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and looks set for another title-double.
However, winter is coming, giving Wolff and his team a chance to make a comeback, taking cues from the likes of Aston Martin’s gains from 2022 to 2023 and the sizeable mid-season upgrade package that brought McLaren into contention.
So, can Mercedes challenge Red Bull in 2024?
“From where we are, we just need a step like McLaren and Aston Martin have achieved in one go, not a two-tenths upgrade but a five-tenths upgrade to get back into the game, so yes I think it is possible,” said a confident Wolff.
And as for what Mercedes will do to their next car, Wolff shared: “I think we have a few directions; if we would know it would be much easier. The car is very unpredictable and lacks grip, so plenty of things we need to tackle.
“We tend to think in F1 that there’s a silver bullet that will unlock everything. We just need to put all the components together to make them work together in the car, so not one thing I would call out.”
In the meantime, Wolff and the squad have their sights on this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix (September 17), with the high-downforce Marina Bay Street Circuit expected to better suit their W14.
“From last year into this year, we need to be careful with our predictions,” added Wolff. “We could go high downforce, hurray, we’ll be right behind Red Bull next week.
“But we don’t know, that’s the truth. The teams from second to sixth can be pretty close together, that’s us and that’s Ferrari and McLaren and Aston Martin.
“But we are consistently scoring with two cars, we are solidly second in the championship, hopefully soon third in the drivers’ championship with Lewis [Hamilton], so we are delivering the best possible job considering the car’s lack of performance.