Friday, July 19, 2024

Mercedes’ Toto Wolff: “We are introducing the first step in a new development direction”

Toto Wolff says the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team will continue its push to improve its W14 this weekend during the Monaco Grand Prix despite having lost the opportunity to run its upgraded package due to the cancellation of last weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Mercedes had been planning to introduce new components to the car at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, but flooding and bad weather at the Italian circuit forced to postponement of the event, and the team were left to decide whether to implement its upgrades in Monaco this weekend or wait until the Spanish Grand Prix next weekend.

Wolff, the Team Principal at Mercedes, says that whilst the cancellation of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was correct, they will need to be careful this weekend not to jump to conclusions about its updated W14 around a track that is unique to the FIA Formula 1 World Championship calendar.

“Following the cancellation of the race in Imola, our thoughts are still with the people of the Emilia-Romagna region that have been affected by the terrible flooding,” said Wolff. “We have been saddened by the images but inspired by the rescue work of the emergency services and the resilience shown by the communities. We look forward to returning to Imola in happier circumstances next year.

“The revised calendar means that Monaco is now the starting point of the European leg of the season. It is a unique event but will still provide an opportunity to learn about the upgrades to W14 – but we also need to be careful not to draw too many conclusions from this one event. We are introducing the first step in a new development direction.

“It won’t be a silver bullet; from my experience, they do not exist in our sport. We hope that it gives the drivers a more stable and predictable platform. Then we can build on that in the weeks and months ahead.”

Mercedes have scored only one podium finish so far in the opening five races, courtesy of a second place for Lewis Hamilton in the Australian Grand Prix, while George Russell’s best result so far has been a pair of fourth places in Saudi Arabia and Miami.

Wolff knows the team are not where they want to be at this stage of the season, but they remain committed to improving the car, which he hopes will become a genuine contender for race wins.

“F1 is tough competition and a meritocracy,” Wolff insisted.  “We are not where we want to be but there’s no sense of entitlement.

“It’s just about hard work to get us to the front.”