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Wolff: Mercedes need “many weeks” to produce next upgrades

Mercedes have no short-term fixes to their F1 struggles in 2024, admits team principal Toto Wolff.

Traditionally, customer teams fail to outperform their suppliers. Teams like Mercedes or Ferrari, with tremendous resources, enjoy an inherent advantage over the teams dependent on their power units. For this reason, it has often been suggested that McLaren – for example – was limited by its reliance on Brixworth for its power units. Of course, this consensus has been shattered, with the Woking-based team claiming victory last weekend.

Mercedes loses ground to rivals

To be clear, McLaren’s ascent to the top step of the podium did not happen overnight. Since Austria last season, the team led by Andrea Stella has produced consistent and significant progress with its updates. A clear philosophy and path for development – coupled with accurate simulator correlation – have been key aspects of their success.

This progress, in many ways, only highlights the failures of Mercedes. The Silver Arrows are currently in No Man’s land, too slow to fight for victories but simultaneously fast enough to hover around the top six positions.

A little more than a year ago, Mercedes brought in James Allison to correct its F1 trajectory. Regrettably, the Brackley-based team’s 2024 F1 challenger has fallen short in various aspects. Not only are they slower than immediate rivals like Ferrari, but they cannot be confident that upgrades will produce substantive improvements.

Mercedes’ upgrades in Miami have largely been overshadowed by Lando Norris’ victory. However, it is important to remember that new components were fitted to the W15 in Miami. Evidently, their impact was quite limited. Then again, drawing conclusions from such a small sample size is difficult.

Regardless, it seems reasonable to suggest that the MCL38 has widened the gap to the W15.

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Upgrades still in production at Mercedes

Moving forward, Toto Wolff warns that no solution can immediately remedy their issues:

“I think we know what to do,” Motorsportweek quotes him as saying. 

“In terms of what they’re bringing to the car, you can’t really rush it because you’ve got to get to the point where you say – ‘now it’s good to be released into production’. 

“And once that part comes, they need to be sorted. So this is a matter of many weeks.”

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These comments speak to a crucial aspect of the German outfit’s predicament. Not only is their current car lacking performance, but the team cannot be confident its upgrades will perform as expected. After all, the wind tunnel in Brackley has often been misleading.

Of course, the situation is not entirely negative. Lewis Hamilton was matching Sergio Perez in the final stint of the Miami GP. That said, other teams are rapidly climbing the field elsewhere.

This means that Mercedes upgrades are badly needed. Not only to unlock more speed but also to ensure they do not regress any further.


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