Mercedes W15 ‘feels like a car for the first time in two years’ as Wolff expresses hope
Toto Wolff has cautiously expressed hope that Mercedes look to have made progress with their car ahead of the 2024 F1 season amid positive feedback from simulator driver Anthony Davidson.
Following a long period of dominance in the sport, the Silver Arrows have struggled in relation to some of their rivals since the introduction of new ground effect regulations in 2022, having claimed just one win in that campaign before going without a victory in 2023.
However, with the team opting to change the concept of their car for the upcoming season, Wolff has previously suggested that the squad “have a chance” to move closer to challenging Red Bull. This seems to have been backed up by comments from former F1 driver and now TV pundit Davidson, who carries out simulator work for Mercedes.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Wolff said of a recent conversation with Davidson: “He was driving Melbourne [in the sim]. And he said: ‘The car feels like a car for the first time in two years.’
“Obviously I would love this to correlate to the track but we’ve seen in the last two years that this was not always the case.”
While Wolff is reluctant to make any bold predictions, the team boss has stressed the importance of maintaining a positive outlook regarding whether Mercedes can return to their championship-winning ways.
“Always believe it’s possible,” Wolff said. “You cannot start the season with an attitude of, ‘This is not going to be possible.’ We saw last year with McLaren, what a huge step they made with a single upgrade.
“We’ve signed a two year deal with Lewis [Hamilton], and we owe it to him, to George [Russell] and to all the team to give it our full attention in 2024 and 2025. I think it’s possible.”
Wolff recently signed a new deal which will see him remain as Team Principal and Chief Executive at Mercedes until the end of 2026. Despite challenging times for the outfit over the past two years, the Austrian says that he “feels good”.
“I’m part of this team in various functions,” Wolff commented. “I’m a co-shareholder. I’m on the board. These are things which will not change whatever executive, or non-executive, role I have.
“But I feel good. The risk for me is always more bore-out than burnout. And that’s why I embrace the challenges we have today, even though they sometimes feel very, very difficult to manage.”
Mercedes will launch their 2024 car on February 14 at Silverstone, with the first race weekend of the season set to get underway in Bahrain on February 29.