Monday, April 15, 2024

Mercedes with ‘some work to do’ after Experiencing W14 Struggles in Belgium – Toto Wolff

The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team missed out on a podium finish in the Belgian Grand Prix, and Team Principal Toto Wolff admitted that they experienced struggles with their car throughout the weekend at Spa-Francorchamps.

Lewis Hamilton started third on the grid but was unable to keep Max Verstappen behind him, the Briton also struggling to match the pace of Sergio Pérez or Charles Leclerc ahead of him as he was forced to settle for fourth.  However, he did gain an additional point for fastest lap after making a late pit stop when certain not to fall behind fifth placed Fernando Alonso.

George Russell ended sixth after losing ground on the opening lap after being caught behind the slowing Oscar Piastri, who had taken damage after first corner contact with Carlos Sainz Jr. Russell spent the rest of his day making positions up but was unable to catch Alonso in the final stint.

Wolff felt the W14 suffered more at Spa-Francorchamps than it had in recent races, with the car experiencing bouncing down the straights, and they will need to put effort into solving the problems they faced in Belgium before the season resumes after the summer break in the Netherlands.

“We struggled with the car at points today and experienced some bouncing,” reflected Wolff.  “That was the main limiting factor this weekend, so we’ve got some work to do to understand that more.

“We’ve got the shutdown coming up, but we will get our heads down this week, review the data, and see what we can do to make progress.”

Wolff believes Mercedes are still on the ‘right trajectory’ when it comes to the development of their W14 this season, and he hopes this can continue across the remainder of the year as they bid to close the gap down to Oracle Red Bull Racing at the front of the field.

“Going into the summer break, I feel that we are on the right trajectory overall,” he added.  “There is so much hard work going across the Team to upgrade the car and help us to make those important steps forward.

“I believe we are making progress and the direction we are going in is the right one. We will go away, recharge over the summer break and come back refreshed and re-energised.”