Toto Wolff has promised a radical new Mercedes Formula 1 car is on the horizon as the team prepare to abandon their unique car concept.
After problems in pre-season testing and being firmly drubbed by Red Bull in Bahrain, Mercedes have admitted that their current W14 design was a mistake.
The team had doubled-down on it after a late charge in 2022 showed some promise, but with the team not anywhere near challenging Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, Wolff says drastic change is coming.
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Wolff's Mercedes promise
Mercedes are said to be preparing a big upgrade package for the W14 at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix which will focus on the sidepods and bringing them more into line with the class-leading RB19 from Red Bull.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1, Wolff confirmed that this was the timeline the team were focusing on.
"I think that the car is going to look very different in five, six or seven races based on the decisions that we have taken and the development direction that we have embarked on," Wolff explained.
"The moment we decide, which we've done, which direction to go, where we want to have the car, we're just getting on with it and pushing hard with that one design philosophy."
The Austrian also addressed the effects of the cost cap on Mercedes' ability to make such drastic changes to the car, admitting it has had an impact.
"We all voted for the cost cap to kick in with the aim of establishing a more level playing field," he added.
"We were bitten by that, that's clear at this stage, but I don't want to ever say that the cost cap doesn't allow us to catch back up - it's more difficult but we simply have to."
Using Aston as a benchmark
Wolff - who admitted that Lewis Hamilton could be forced into leaving Mercedes for that elusive eighth World Championship if they can't deliver him a car capable - added that the team were using Aston Martin as a benchmark.
The AMR23 uses a significant amount of parts from Mercedes, including rear suspension, power unit and gearbox, which Wolff says has given the team information about where the W14 is lacking.
"Why it helps us, they have the whole rear end from our car, the suspension, the engines, the gearbox - all of that," he said.
"So we know there are areas that are really good, that we mustn't question too much," Wolff said.
"But it's other areas where the cars are fundamentally different where we need to set our focus - there is a lot to learn.
"Lawrence [Stroll] has gone through so many difficult years, and now the team is on the up, they're successful, so it's for us to learn and not the other way around as it was for many years."
Join RacingNews365.com journalists Michael Butterworth and Dieter Rencken as they discuss all the key talking points ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.