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Wolff: Mercedes 'relishing' 2023 F1 challenge

Mercedes had a troubled pre-season testing, but boss Toto Wolff remains optimistic about their 2023 chances.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes his team are "relishing the challenge" of trying to wrestle back the Formula 1 World Championships from Red Bull. The eight-year domination of Mercedes ended in 2022, with Red Bull claiming both crowns as a flawed W13 hampered the chances of the Brackley squad. The team insisted they would rectify the problems for 2023's W14 machine, with a good first day of testing raising hopes. However, a torrid second day of testing in Bahrain dampened expectations, with the team at least third fastest, and possibly fourth, behind a punchy Aston Martin. Despite this, Wolff is optimistic for the season ahead.

"The start of a new season is always exciting, whether you've been working in this sport for a few decades, years or weeks," said Wolff. "So much hard work has gone into the W14 over the winter and the anticipation to be get racing has kept on building. We will be going flat out this weekend - and are determined to keep that going to the final lap in Abu Dhabi. "It's always hard to have a clear picture of competitiveness at pre-season testing - and even more so with only three days of data available. "Our expectations were that we would likely be playing catch-up to the front, based on how last year ended, that seems to be the case so far but we will only know for sure after this weekend. "Nevertheless, we are confident we have got a car we can work with and are in a stronger position than 12 months ago. More importantly, we are relishing the challenge. "This championship will be fought over 23 race weekends, and each one will give us an opportunity to improve."

"Not the smoothest" test

In testing, both Red Bull and Ferrari appeared to be a step clear of Mercedes - who suffered a hydraulic failure and lost running on Friday evening with George Russell. Wolff admitted that testing was a struggle, but was confident the team had met a "key objective." "We didn't have the smoothest winter test in Bahrain. We had some reliability problems and struggled with the car set-up on day two," he said. "But the key objective was to learn about the car, and we did lots of learning. "We made good progress on the final day, which gave us directions to work on in the short period between the test and this weekend's race."

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