Wolff encourages caution ahead of Baku with Mercedes W14 continuing 'to evolve'
Mercedes have been working hard during the April break to bring upgrades to their W14 as they look to turn around a winless start to the 2023 season, but Team Principal Toto Wolff has warned that there “is no magic bullet” to making their Silver Arrow a championship contender.
The eight-time constructors’ champions took one win in 2022 and, after three races of 2023, they sit third in the table behind Aston Martin. They’ve made no secret of impending updates to the W14 and it seems that the Brackley factory has been burning the midnight oil ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
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"Over the next races, we want to keep on making small steps forward," said Wolff to Mercedes' F1 site ahead of the Sprint and Grand Prix in Baku. "The car will continue to evolve in the coming weeks, as we steadily bring performance and upgrades to the track. We’re excited to see their impact, but we know there is no magic bullet."
The team boss added: "Australia showed that we are making progress, although we need to be cautious about reading too much into a single result. But the signs in Melbourne were still encouraging and that has been a good motivator for the whole team heading into this gap in the calendar.”
Mercedes have taken three victories at Baku thanks to Nico Rosberg (2016), Lewis Hamilton (2018) and Valtteri Bottas (2019), but Red Bull have had the run of this street circuit in recent years as Sergio Perez took the win in 2021 and Max Verstappen won the 2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
This weekend will, however, see the first Sprint of the 2023 season plus a different format which includes two qualifying sessions; there’s a new Sprint Shootout running on Saturday morning and setting the starting order for the Sprint.
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"The racing in Baku is always dramatic and entertaining. It's a challenging track with the walls close, so there’s no room for error. We also have our first F1 Sprint weekend of the season with a tweaked format,” continued Wolff.
"It’s an interesting challenge for us to tackle, with only a single practice session to be ready for two qualifying sessions and races spread across Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Hopefully this will mean more excitement and action for fans to enjoy."