Wolff: Mercedes W14 F1 trait makes it a “nasty piece of work”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says the unpredictable nature of his team’s W14 Formula 1 car makes it a “nasty piece of work”. 

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

After a difficult weekend in Miami, which saw Lewis Hamillton fail to make it out of Q2, Mercedes is now counting down the days until it unleashes a major upgrade at Imola. 

But as well as the performance of the car being far from what the team hoped for, Wolff has said there are various characteristics from it that have triggered his squad’s competitive struggles. 

“I think that the car is not a nice car, not a good car,” he said. “It's everywhere. It’s the pace, the performance of the car, it’s the lack of understanding of the car [about why] it is not delivering. It is the full spread of activities. I would say the performance is just really bad.” 

Hamilton himself suggested that there was no area where the current car was a match for Red Bull. 

Asked where the team was lacking pace, Hamilton said: “Everywhere! It's just, we're just lacking. If you look at the Red Bull for example, they can use a small rear wing, they're fast on the straights and fast through the corners, where for us we have to have a bigger wing to get anywhere near them in those corners. So I think we're lacking rear downforce mostly.” 


Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Wolff feels, however, that the worst thing about the W14 is that it is so unpredictable from session to session, and often without explanation. 

“It's a lack of comprehension of what it is that makes this car such a nasty piece of work,” he added. 

Mercedes is to introduce a major development step at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, which includes new sidepods and a revised front suspension. 

The team is hoping that the tweaks will deliver a step forward in pace, but Wolff says of more importance is that it should help engineers get a better steer of what has gone wrong with its 2023 challenger. 

“I think what we're trying to do with the upgrade is to create a new baseline and for us to take question marks out of the equation and say, this is not the problem now that we have gone to a different concept.  

“This is what is happening with the front suspension and we are looking at bodywork solutions that are more conventional than ours, and that are going to create a different airflow.  

“For me, it's almost like a reset to what would have been a good start 12 months ago, and then to try to add performance.” 

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Wolff also echoed Hamilton’s remarks from Friday that, beyond the team having cured porpoising, there was little progress that had been made since last year. 

Asked about if the team expected a lowly performance in Miami, he said: “No, it's worse than I thought because we are 12 months on since we were last in Miami and the car is just marginally better. 

“Maybe it is not bouncing on the straight but that is the only thing that is better than last year. The car is not fast enough, and we have no comprehension of why that it is between one session and the next. It is not acceptable.” 

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