After years of domination, Mercedes-AMG F1 has endured two difficult seasons. You really get the sense the team is done with its current ‘W14’ Formula 1 car, judging by comments made by Team Principal Toto Wolff.
“We will throw this one in the bin when it's really fast and then embark on a new journey,” Wolff said, according to Motorsport.com. Although it has a different designation, the overall philosophy of the car is the same as the W13 ran last year.
“The car that we put on track in 2022…the bones are the same,” Wolf told F1TV. “We are going around in circles a little bit in how we can improve the car and it’s difficult." He added: “We are working on changing those bones for next year, which means we see a lot of potential but you are also starting in a position where you can’t really predict the outcome.”
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was a little less drastic, saying the team would “hold onto the positives,” and highlighted the hard work on the car from the thousands of Merc employees behind the scenes. That said, only a few days ago he labelled the W14 the “hardest car that I've ever driven to get right,” adding that he was “counting down the days until February” when its W15 successor is revealed.
For that car, Mercedes is working on some “interesting projects,” trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin noted at the Japanese Grand Prix. He said:
“We’re doing a lot of work to try and solve the problems on this car to make sure we don’t have them next year,”
“We have moved it forward. The car we had previously in 2022, that tended to be an awfully way off in qualifying, it was generally racing a bit better. The performance was very, very track-specific.
“Some areas we have improved but the big issue is we are just not quick enough, so we need to find a good chunk of performance to challenge Red Bull in particular.
“But the other thing is that the field is now super close. You look at some of the gaps we had 12 months ago. You have a decent qualifying position - you might be fourth or fifth on the grid, but you were eight or nine tenths. Now if you do that, you end up getting bumped off in Q1 or Q2.
“There’s lots for us to work on and a lot of that will be making sure we can give the drivers the confidence that they are lacking at the moment.”