Despite the worst year under his leadership, Toto Wolff said Mercedes will not return to the drawing board.
Mercedes ended the 2022 season with just one win, the least since the 2012 season, as an ongoing problem with porpoises proved to be a nightmare for Brackley engineers.
Victory in Sao Paulo proved they had accomplished the task, but as they shifted focus from W13 to W14 they would have wondered where to start.
Many would have expected that after such a difficult year and a significantly different looking car to the rest of the field in terms of sidepods, the Silver Arrows would have scrapped their plans and restarted, said team principal and CEO Wolff. That is not the case, when Mercedes prefers evolution to revolution.
“Revolution isn’t necessary if you know where to start,” he told Auto Motor und Sport when he was told that Bayern Munich would have torn everything up and restarted after such a bad season. “I don’t know how much it compares to a football team.
“In general, it’s about the fact that stability and a safe environment are extremely important in Formula 1. That is exactly our strength. That made us learn faster in 2022.
“I think we already need to change some things that we’ve found aren’t working. We had a conversation with a prospect. He asked us: Are you changing the concept? My answer was: What does term mean?
“Does it refer to what is visible from the outside – narrow or wide sidepods? Or does the concept mean differences in architecture, in weight distribution, in the aerodynamic window? In other words, things that are not visible. We have no sacred plan. We mercilessly question everything.
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“If we had to do something that looks like a different car, there’s no doubt we would do it. At the moment everything is going towards things that happen under the body. That can and hopefully will help our performance to improve again.”
Wolff also said how important Sao Paulo’s win is as it proves they are developing in the right direction.
“The win was certainly important to confirm our direction of development,” said the Austrian. “We believe that before the summer we understood what we did wrong.
“You can’t change that overnight. You need many months of lead time. We clearly see a trend for the better – on tracks that suit our car’s configuration and aerodynamic properties. That was good in Austin and Mexico, and even better in Brazil.
“With the win, we were able to tick this item off our list. Nobody can say that Mercedes didn’t win a race in 2022. And not only did we win it, we also won the sprint and finished first and second in the Grand Prix. That was no coincidence this weekend. We could probably have won a few more races if we’d either made fewer mistakes or had a little bit more effort.”