Toto Wolff believes Mercedes' Formula 1 problems were so ingrained in 2022 that the budget cap had no impact over the poor performance.
Despite entering the season as the eight-time consecutive world champions, Mercedes stumbled with their W13 design - suffering a magnitude of problems.
Originally the team believed the aerodynamic porpoising was the key factor behind its slow start to the season, but soon uncovered a fundamental design flaw with the car, believed to relate to the floor which could not be fixed in-season.
As a result, the team continued to try and make best of the W13, with George Russell claiming his first, and Mercedes' only win of the season in Brazil while Lewis Hamilton went winless for the first time ever in his F1 career.
In years gone by, teams would have been able to throw as much money as required at the problem to rectify it during the season, but owing to the $140 million budget cap in place, this was not possible.
However, Wolff believes that this limitation was not a factor in Mercedes finally being de-throned.
Wolff reveals budget cap impact
"It wouldn't have made any difference," Wolff explained on the F1 Beyond the Grid podcast when asked if Mercedes could have done with extra resources banned under the budget cap.
"We're not lacking the capability or any tools.
"It was more that we needed to peel off layer by layer in order to get to the [root] of the problem - it wouldn't have changed anything.
"We believe that we solved the underlying problem of the bouncing, but not all that could be done was done was on the 2022 car.
"It's going to be easier next year, we are changing some of the architecture and layout of the car - and it should point us in the right direction.
"But with these new regulations, sometimes you uncover one problem, and then you realise there was another underneath.
"We have to be humble and not feel a sense of entitlement that we are going to get back into the championship [fight] and win straight from the get go."
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Wolff details positives of Mercedes' W13 car
Despite the W13 being the worst car designed by Mercedes since the W03 of 2012 in terms of wins and championship position (one win and fifth place in the 2012 standings), Wolff remains proud of one aspect of the new design.
"I'm proud of the boldness that we put into this car," he explained, highlighting the zero sidepod design the team introduced.
"When you look at the narrow sidepod concept, it had absolutely nothing to do with the car not performing.
"I'm proud of how we came about finding that design and putting on the car.
"There are many other areas that were really good, a power unit that has really done well throughout the season, and reliability was great too.
"On the chassis side, we had high peak downforce, but we just couldn't run the car where we would be able to generate it."
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