Toto Wolff has said that he "wouldn't discount anything" regarding Mercedes' car concept, and potentially returning to the launch-spec version of the W13, but wants to remain "faithful" to their current design. Ferrari and Red Bull have stolen a march on Mercedes under Formula 1's rules reset, with the reigning Constructors' World Champions held back by extreme porpoising on their car so far this season. Given that Mercedes started pre-season testing with a more conventional sidepod layout, before introducing the 'sidepod-less' variant, questions have arisen as to whether the Silver Arrows might decide to revert to that original version in a bid to make up lost ground.
Wolff sees Barcelona as a crucial race for Mercedes
Asked for his take on the situation after the Miami Grand Prix, where Mercedes were again limited to the 'best of the rest' positions on race day, Wolff would not rule out a mid-season change in concept. But he sees the upcoming Spanish GP as the crunch point for the team, where they will be able to compare data on the current W13 to the information that is stored away from pre-season testing. "I wouldn't discount anything," Wolff told media, including RacingNews365.com . "We need to give all of our people the benefit of the doubt, that have produced great race cars in the past, and we believe that this is the route to go. "But Barcelona definitely is going to be a point in time where we are able to correlate with what we've seen in [testing in] February, and gather more data. "I'm also annoyed by always saying the same thing about gathering data and making experiments, but it's physics and not mystics, and therefore you have to unpick the bones."
Mercedes staying committed to the sidepod-less W13 – for now
Pushed again on how close Mercedes are to letting the concept go, Wolff made the point that the team first need to fully understand where they are before making any decisions. "I think we're still committed to the current concept, and you need to, because if we don't believe and we give the other one a 50 per cent chance, then [you had] better switch now," said Wolff. "We are faithful to the current concept. We are not looking at the lady next door, if we like it more or not, because it's still good. "As a matter of fact, we need to understand, before you make a decision to switching on another concept, where did this one go wrong? What is the goodness of the concept and what is the badness of the concept? "That is a question you can only respond to yourself, which I would be asking ourselves to get an answer on after Barcelona, because that's the real correlation we have. "By then, we've got to look ourselves in the mirror and say, 'Did we get it wrong or not?'"