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Formula 1 Monaco GP

Mercedes F1 has climbed from "awful" in Monaco to "not good"

The upgraded Mercedes Formula 1 car has progressed the team from being “awful” in last year’s Monaco Grand Prix to being only “not good” in 2023, reckons boss Toto Wolff.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell bagged a 4-5 result to mark the debut of the heavily revised W14, which has now gained more conventional sidepods and new front suspension.

While the positions were unchanged, Russell was hit with a five-second penalty for rejoining the track in an unsafe manner as he made contact with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez at Mirabeau.

Although Hamilton had the pace in the late wet stint to close to third-placed finisher Esteban Ocon, Mercedes motorsport boss Wolff said his drivers still noted the car was “not good”.

However, the Austrian considered that to be progress on the “awful” showing from Monaco in 2022 when top qualifier Russell was 0.736s off the pace aboard the porpoising W13.

Wolff said of the upgrades: “It’s so difficult [to assess] because we were in the mix with Aston Martin and with Ferrari, I would say.

“On a positive note, maybe encouraging because we have never been really good here.

“We have been three tenths behind pole. Last year was six tenths [sic].

“The car was awful last year and this time around the drivers said it’s not good.

“So, there’s a step in description. But we really need to be careful.

“We’ve got to go to Barcelona, collect more data. It’s a new baseline.

“I don’t expect us clearing Aston Martin and Ferrari there either.”

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

Wolff added that the mission across the Spanish GP weekend will be to understand how to optimise the set-up for the new car, and that the Mercedes high work ethic would carry the team forward.

He continued: “It is more about understanding what does this car do now and how do we need to set it up?

“We’re really good at grinding away once we decide the development direction.

“Even with the old package that wasn’t great - it was terrible at the beginning of the season - we managed to win a race in Interlagos in a very dominant way. So, we’re going to get there.”

Wolff noted the car had struggled more as the track surface in Monaco increased in grip.

He said: “Here, it’s mainly ride and low-speed downforce. You don’t see that on many other tracks.

“So, we’re coming to more mid- and high-speed corners, proper racetracks. It should be good.”

He added: “I think we’ve been better in FP1 actually and FP2 than the rest of the weekend.

“The more the track grips in, the less performant we are.

“It’s really a lot of learning at the moment because everything is new.

“We’ve got to just collect the data and set the car up.”

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