With an average lag of around 40 seconds behind Red Bull on race Sundays, Toto Wolff admits Mercedes’ upgrades in Monaco won’t allow them to challenge Red Bull directly, but he believes they will represent a step forward.
With Red Bull dominating its rivals this season, securing victory in all five races, Mercedes’ closest win – excluding the race in Australia, which had a red flag restart on the final lap – is a 25-second gap.
After finishing the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, where both drivers were 50 seconds behind Max Verstappen, George Russell showed signs of improvement – albeit a slight one – in Saudi Arabia, where the gap was reduced to just 25 seconds.
However, Mercedes faced a harsh reality in Azerbaijan, losing 46 seconds, and in Miami Lewis Hamilton was 33 seconds off the leader.
It was a disappointing start to the season for the team, prompting Wolff to admit that without significant changes to the car, Mercedes was unlikely to win the race.
These expected changes were scheduled for the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, but unfortunately the race was canceled due to heavy rainfall and flooding in the area.
Accordingly, Mercedes will present its “completely” restyled car for the first time in Monaco.
“Of course we would like to see how we do with the new car,” Toto Wolff told in an interview with oe24.
“When you’re completely rebuilding a car, you want to know what a retrofit package can do.”
Mercedes’ motorsport boss, meanwhile, downplayed the impact of the modifications on the W14’s speed, stating that while Mercedes believes they will be an improvement, the gap to Red Bull is too big to shut down right away.
“Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen any time soon,” he said. “But I’m hoping for a step forward.
“We had to react to Red Bull’s advantage. Since we couldn’t find a solution to make the old car fast front or rear, we rebuilt the chassis, bodywork and front wheel suspension.”
Wolff, however, reiterated his belief that Hamilton would not get the one-second improvement the Briton said he dreamed of after the Miami Grand Prix.
“There are no miracles in Formula 1,” said the Austrian.
“We won’t go half a second faster now, but hopefully we’ll have less problems and be able to continue with a competitive car. So far, he’s been too stiff and stubborn.