Wolff: Taking away F1 budget cap wouldn't have solved Mercedes W13's issues

Toto Wolff believes Mercedes could never have solved the problems with its W13 Formula 1 car during the season - even without the budget cap’s limitations.

Wolff: Taking away F1 budget cap wouldn't have solved Mercedes W13's issues

After winning eight constructors’ titles in a row, Mercedes endured a tricky campaign through 2022 as it struggled to match Red Bull and Ferrari under the new regulations.

Drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were hindered by a porpoising issue through the early part of the season, but as the team moved to fix the problem, deeper issues with the W13 car became apparent.

The squad was able to get on top of the problems by the end of the season and avoid a winless year as Russell took victory in Brazil, but has made clear it plans bigger car changes for the W14 model in 2023.

This year, teams faced the added challenge of developing their new cars under the $140 million budget cap, forcing them to be more considered about what areas to focus on for development.

But Wolff said that having no budget cap “wouldn’t have made a difference” in solving the W13’s issues during the season, believing it was a process that could only be done gradually.

“We’re not lacking the capability, nor were we lacking any of the tools, nor time,” Wolff said on F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast.

“It was more that we needed to peel off layer by layer in order to get to the cause of the problem. So it wouldn’t have changed anything.”

“We needed to peel off layer by layer in order to get to the cause of the problem.

“We needed to peel off layer by layer in order to get to the cause of the problem.

Photo by: Gareth Harford / Motorsport Images

Mercedes initially thought it had remedied the porpoising issue with its first major update of the season, which was brought to the Spanish Grand Prix, after both Hamilton and Russell showed encouraging pace.

But the porpoising problem returned soon after, and was even present to a small degree at the season finale in Abu Dhabi.

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Wolff explained that Mercedes could not solve all of the bouncing problems with the W13 car, but that the team thought it was “going to be easier next year.”

“We are changing some of the architecture and the layout of the car, which should point us in the right direction,” said Wolff.

“But as it is with these new regulations, sometimes you uncover one problem and then you realise there was another one underneath.

“We have to stay humble and not feel a sense of entitlement that we’re going to get back into this championship and win straight from the get-go. I’m really looking forward to it.”

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