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Toto Wolff

Wolff explains why Mercedes won't u-turn on W13 stuck in 'no man's land'

Toto Wolff says Mercedes would be unable to turn their backs on the W13 just yet, should they decide to, with too many questions left unanswered.

Hamilton Monaco
Article
To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says his team cannot abandon their W13 car concept until they understand the problems they must avoid when building its replacement.

The eight-time World Champions are now more than 100 points behind rivals Red Bull after just seven rounds of the new Formula 1 season.

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton count only three podiums between them, five down on the eight Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas shared at this point in 2021.

After round six in Spain, Mercedes were celebrating an improvement, having shown pace within touching distance of the front-runners, but at Monaco their struggles seemed to have reappeared.

Mercedes must understand if and why W13 if flawed

The problems with the W13 seem increasingly difficult to shake, despite signs of progress being made. Their Monaco troubles came with added frustration, as the drivers fought problems other than porpoising.

But, according to Wolff, if the concept of the W13 really is flawed, Mercedes cannot turn their backs on it until they understand, without uncertainty, why that is.

"If you want to change a concept, you need to understand what's going to make a new concept faster than the current one. I think if we would have known, we would have done it," said Wolff, speaking to the media in Monaco, including RacingNews365.com.

"At the moment, it is still very much believing in the structure and organisation and trying to bring development and understanding in order to increase the base of the car."

			© XPB
	© XPB

Could Mercedes soon abandon 2022 for 2023?

Should fixing the W13 prove a mountain too tough to climb in time to save their 2022 season, Mercedes could be forced to abandon the W13 to focus on 2023's W14, should the naming of their cars remain consistent, admits Wolff.

But this will not happen yet, he adds, with 15 races remaining and with George Russell only 41 points behind World Championship leader Max Verstappen.

When asked the question, Wolff said: "At a certain stage, if we still don't manage to close that gap, I think we just need to continue to just grind away and then if decisions for next year are to be taken, that can't be changed on the current car, whether it's architecture or dynamically, then yeah, these decisions need to happen.

"But we're not at that point yet."

Mercedes looking forward to more wind tunnel time

With the European season now underway, Mercedes will have more time in the wind tunnel to eek improvements from their W13, a car Wolff admits is trapped in no man's land.

Any plans to leave 2022 behind and focus on 2023 will at least be put on hold for now, while they look to learn what improvements can be found between now and the summer break.

"At least we're going to get some more wind tunnel time from June onwards, then we're coming back," he said.

"Every kilometre that we do is an important lesson on how we can improve the car.

"We just need to get out of the no man's land that we are in at the moment."

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