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How Mercedes are escaping 'dead-end street' with W14

With Mercedes' W14 appearing unlikely to challenge for top honours in its current guise, team boss Toto Wolff has offered an update on the Silver Arrows' priorities for moving forward in 2023.

Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff says he is optimistic that his team are gradually understanding the troublesome W14, rejecting the notion that the Silver Arrows are seeking to take inspiration from other teams' designs. The Brackley-based squad kept faith with their zero-sidepod design from 2022, but it quickly became apparent that the car remain some way off the pace-setting Red Bulls, and Wolff took the unusual step of admitting even before the Bahrain Grand Prix that Mercedes would look to change the concept of the W14. Speaking after George Russell and Lewis Hamilton finished fourth and fifth in Jeddah, Wolff said Mercedes were slowly understanding more about their 2023 challenger. "If you look at the Red Bulls, they're just so quick," Wolff told Sky Sports F1 . "I think we understand the car more. I'm looking optimistic to the future, because we just need to put it in a different window. "We are changing the bodywork of the car, how the floor works, all of these things. "Mechanically, we're looking at certain areas and the team in Brackley is just flat out."

Mercedes 'running out of a dead-end street'

Wolff added that Mercedes had come to realise that their current concept had no prospect of being successful, and that the team had decided to cut their losses on it. "We headed into one direction last year and we wanted to make it work, and it worked and it got better and better," said Wolff. "But now, we really realised it's a dead-end street. These are the facts and everybody knows that now. So we turned around and we're running fast out of that dead-end street." The Austrian also rejected the notion that Mercedes would look to take inspiration from Red Bull or Aston Martin, both of whose cars have proven quicker than Mercedes so far in 2023. "I don't know you can call it a Red Bull or Aston Martin concept," Wolff added. "If it looked like an English double decker bus, we would do it if it was fast. Put a little Red Bull sticker, if they want to put it on. "It's just about pure performance; we have no dogma on who invented it."

RESULTS 2024 F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - Qualifying