Wolff: W15 has the architecture to catch Red Bull

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes their 2024 car has the fundamental architecture needed to catch up to Red Bull under current Formula 1 regulations.

Despite renewed optimism that their redesigned concept car had eradicated previous negative traits, Mercedes had problems with the car’s consistency.

The team’s status as the fourth fastest team on the grid was consolidated at Imola as Lewis Hamilton finished 35 seconds behind race winner Max Verstappen.

However, the Silver Arrows are optimistic about their prospects for the future, as George Russell revealed they have overcompensated for past mistakes. Having unveiled upgrades at Imola and more in the pipeline, Wolff is confident his team is on the right track with its newfound development path.

“What we see now on the car are these incremental gains that we bring, not the miraculous upgrades that bring the car into the space of better balance and make the car have more performance, but on these things you get a tenth or a tenth and a half, but at the same time the other teams they’re thriving,” Wolff said.

“We are on a path where we are improving the car, we can see that. It’s never like the share price goes up like this, it’s going to be like this, as long as the direction is right and now I feel more confident.”

Mercedes struggled through the first races to strike a balance between their car’s competitiveness in fast and slow corners at the same time.

Asked if it had been a mistake to chase a magic wand in the past, the Austrian replied: “Yes, I don’t think we’ve ever had such clear indications as we’ve had in the last few races where we’ve really seen the car either really go fast in the fast corners or the slow corners, but never both together, and that’s something we can slowly choose now.”

Although he admitted that Mercedes had been stung with “false dawns” beforehand, Wolff is optimistic that there will be no unforeseen surprises that lead to a setback.

“I don’t know how often I used a stable platform, I think that a stable platform is a car in which you know which direction of development to go,” he assures.

“Where you think you can be at your best, and that’s been a zigzag over the last few years, and there have absolutely been those false dawns.”

“But I think there’s an underlying thing that we didn’t spot when we should have, so there’s more confidence right now.”

“When I said nothing in this sport is taken for granted, we’re where we are, it’s not good enough, you can hear it in my voice that I’m angry, and I just have to do better.”

Wolff is confident that the more stable platform Mercedes has put together through the W15 car means it can focus on increasing performance rather than fixing problems.

Asked if the team now has the foundations to do what they want on the aerodynamic side to catch up with Red Bull, Wolff replied: “Yes, they do.”

“The basis of the car is more conventional, in terms of defining where we want to have downforce and how we want to generate aerodynamic efficiency. We pretty much know where this is going and this is an advantage compared to, say, two years ago,” added Toto Wolff.