March 29, 2023 11:28 pm

Mercedes have produced a disappointing start off to the 2023 Formula 1 season following seeing their eight-year constructors’ title streak finish in 2022 Watch Saudi Arabian GP final practice reside on Saturday at 1.30pm on Sky Sports F1

ten:46, UK, Saturday 18 March 2023

Toto Wolff says Mercedes’ W14 auto will appear “quite diverse” in 5-to-seven races’ time following confirming the group is now focused on “1 design and style philosophy”.

Following becoming caught out by the introduction of new design and style regulations final season and seeing their streak of eight successive constructors’ titles ended by Red Bull, Mercedes opted to stick with the identical design and style philosophy for the 2023 Formula 1 season.

Even so, a poor functionality at the season-opening Grand Prix in Bahrain earlier in March led to Wolff admitting the group had got it incorrect, and would be taking a diverse path, with speculation swirling more than an alternate ‘Plan B’ auto design and style.

Speaking exclusively to Sky Sports F1’s Rachel Brookes following Friday practice at this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Wolff offered an update on the team’s plans for the coming weeks.

He stated: “The query is what do you imply by a Strategy B auto?

Karun Chandhok requires a close appear at Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes ahead of practice at the Saudi Arabia GP

“I feel that the auto is going to appear quite diverse in 5, six or seven races primarily based on the choices that we have taken and the improvement path that we have embarked on.”

In addition to coming unstuck beneath the radical new 2022 regulations, Wolff says Mercedes’ capacity to recover from their blunders has been lowered by the sport’s price cap, which was implemented in 2021.

“We all voted for the price cap to kick in with the aim of establishing a much more level playing field,” Wolff stated.

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton say they are hoping to ‘maximise’ their functionality following a different challenging day in practice at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

“We have been bitten by that, that is clear at this stage, but I never want to ever say that the price cap does not let us to catch back up – it really is much more challenging but we basically have to.

“The moment we determine, which we’ve carried out, which path to go, exactly where we want to have the auto, we’re just having on with it and pushing tough with that 1 design and style philosophy.”

‘Lauda would want us to copy design and style of other cars’

Neither Wolff nor Mercedes’ British driver pairing Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have offered any detail on how the W14 will be altered, but the group boss appeared to hint that he believes moving towards the design and style of Red Bull’s pace-setting RB19 is the “straightforward” solution.

Wolff was asked about what former Mercedes chairman and 3-time F1 planet champion Niki Lauda, who played a important function in establishing the group as the sport’s dominant force just before his death in 2019, would have advised in their present predicament.

Niki Lauda (L) was a enormous element of Mercedes’ results just before his death in 2019

“I miss him a lot, but I miss him as a pal foremost,” Wolff stated. “We are all missing him as a chairman.

“For Niki it would have been quite straightforward, for the reason that simplicity is what brings you to the greatest choice and I know specifically what he would have stated.

“‘Our auto appears quite diverse, let’s make it like the other people and optimise it. We have a excellent group, we have excellent technologies and infrastructure, we can do it considerably improved than the other people, so why never we just get on with it?

“Items are quite straightforward generally. You can generally reduce all the nonsense out, and at the finish the straightforward choices in life, which are quite generally instinctive choices added with each other with information that supports them, and this is how Niki operated. Do not overcomplicate issues, get the fundamentals appropriate.”

‘There is a lot to discover from Aston Martin’

Though Mercedes anticipated to start off the season behind reigning planet champion Max Verstappen’s Red Bull, the truth they have been beaten by Aston Martin in Bahrain came as a key surprise.

Important components of Aston Martin’s auto, which took Fernando Alonso to third behind the Red Bulls in Bahrain, are supplied by Mercedes, producing their impressive early-season functionality much more damning to Wolff’s squad.

Fernando Alonso overtook the Mercedes pair of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton just before having previous Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz to finish third at the Bahrain Grand Prix

Alonso’s second-location finish in second practice in Saudi Arabia on Friday suggests Bahrain will not be a 1-off, but Wolff is attempting to take the positives and says he is content to see his pal and Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll enjoying results.

“Why it assists us, they have the entire rear finish from our auto, the suspension, the engines, the gear box – all of that, so we know there are locations that are definitely excellent, that we mustn’t query also considerably,” Wolff stated.

“But it really is other locations exactly where the automobiles are fundamentally diverse exactly where we have to have to set our concentrate – there is a lot to discover.

“Lawrence has gone by way of so quite a few challenging years, and now the group is on the up, they are thriving, so it really is for us to discover and not the other way about as it was for quite a few years.”

Formula 1 street racing is back! Watch the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix reside on Sky Sports F1 this weekend. Saturday’s qualifying and Sunday’s race are reside at 5pm. Get Sky Sports

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