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Formula 1 Miami GP

Mercedes: Imola F1 upgrade will answer why W14 is so "poisonous" to drive

Mercedes says its Imola upgrade will help unlock key answers over what areas it got wrong with its current Formula 1 car that make it so “poisonous” to drive. 

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

The team endured another difficult weekend at the Miami Grand Prix as struggles in practice and qualifying were followed by more encouraging pace in the race. 

The team has admitted, however, that this rollercoaster of form that the W14 has demonstrated has left it unable to understand exactly what has gone wrong. 

PLUS: How Verstappen defeated Perez in Miami

For the next race at the Emilia Romagna GP, Mercedes is introducing a major update, which will include changes to the sidepod, floor and front suspension. 

And while the team hopes that the new package will deliver a step forward in form, more critical, reckons boss Toto Wolff, is the way that the changes should help deliver some answers about the faults in the current car. 

Wolff is not expecting a dramatic change in fortunes from Imola, but believes the knowledge gained could prove significant for the long term. 

“We need to manage our own expectations, because we're bringing an update package that's going to consist of new suspension parts, and bodywork and some other things,” he said. 

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

“But I have never in my 15 years in F1 seen a silver bullet being introduced, where suddenly you unlock half a second of performance. So, I very much doubt that this is going to happen here.  

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“But what I'm looking forward to is that we take certain variables off the table, where we believe we could have introduced something that we don't understand in the car.  

“[I am hoping] we can go more to a stable platform, and then we should see where the baseline is and what we can do from there.” 

Asked what variables Mercedes wanted taken off the table, Wolff said: “I think we are chasing downforce and we're trying to do the best possible job in terms of the mechanical platform.  

“What we're doing is we're introducing a new bodywork, and we're introducing a new floor and we're doing a new front suspension and that's pretty large. That's a pretty large operation. Large surgery. It’s going to be a lot of learning in the virtual world, where it is good lap time.” 

With teams already closing in on the time period when they need to start committing to the major components of their 2024 cars, Wolff said learning from what happens at Imola was critical. 

“That's why the upgrade that we're bringing is going to help us to set the direction, and to understand the various areas that we believe could play a role in why the car is so poisonous to drive," he said.

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