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‘Our ambition is strong’ – Wolff assesses Mercedes’ early 2024 chances in bid to catch Red Bull

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Toto Wolff is cautiously optimistic over Mercedes' chances going into 2024 but has insisted "there are no miracles in the sport." The Silver Arrows unveiled their 2024 car, the W15, on Wednesday following a dramatic off-season where it was announced Lewis Hamilton was to leave the team at the end of the year for Ferrari.

The 2023 season was the second in a row that Mercedes struggled when compared to their previous championship-winning ways, opting to radically change the concept of their car midway through the year. With all that data to pull from as well as an off-season spent hard at work in Brackley, Team Principal Wolff has been assessing how the squad looks going into 2024.

READ MORE: Hamilton 'mega-motivated' as he prepares for final season with Mercedes

“I am excited that we’re about to go racing again and, of course, curious and excited to see how the car will perform,” he said when the W15 was first shown to the press. “I think we will get an early indication of whether we have solved some of the inherent problems that we had on the chassis side last year. We have a mountain to climb to get to the front of the field, but we are focused on doing so.

“We were in a tough fight last season with Ferrari and McLaren, at times Aston Martin, with a big gap between Red Bull and the rest. I would hope we are in the chasing pack at the beginning of the season and hopefully a step closer to Red Bull.”

Mercedes-AMG F1 W15 E Performance Launch - Finn Pomeroy

Mercedes launched their 2024 car, the W15, a week before pre-season testing

One of the main problems Mercedes faced last year was the uncertainty of how the car would perform week in, week out. To make matters worse, they were up against the juggernaut that was Red Bull, as the Milton Keynes outfit put together the most dominant season in Formula 1 history.

Mercedes’ struggle to get a handle on their car concept was a consistent battle, and while there are hopes that 2024 will be more fruitful, Wolff wasn't getting carried away with their prospects.

READ MORE: 'I'm probably attractive to other teams' – Alonso on Aston Martin, Hamilton and his significance in the driver market

“On one hand, you need to be realistic about the odds of beating a team that is a fair chunk ahead under these regulations, and who got things right over the last two seasons whilst we have not,” said Wolff.

“There are no miracles in the sport. On the other hand, our ambition is strong. It is Red Bull and a very successful car that are the benchmark we are aiming to beat. I do not know when that will happen, we do not have any crystal ball. But we will know soon enough how far ahead they are and the task in front of us.”

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 26: Toto Wolff of Germany and Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1

Wolff sounded optimistic heading into what could be a watershed year for Mercedes

Mercedes have three days of pre-season testing in Bahrain to get their first idea of how the W15 might compare to the opposition – with Red Bull the obvious team to catch, but McLaren, Ferrari and Aston Martin are also likely to provide stern opposition. The landscape has changed dramatically since Mercedes were the dominant force in the sport – and it is clear that returning to the pinnacle is what is driving the whole Mercedes team in their pursuit of a race-winning car.

TECH ANALYSIS: The major changes Mercedes have made with their W15 in a bid to catch Red Bull

“When you fall, you get back up,” said a reflective Wolff. “And that is what I have learned most in the last three years: it’s about the ability to recognise the learning when we fail to meet our objectives, and this is the key to long-term success.

“We hate losing, and that drives us. But that does not mean that we can’t enjoy the challenge we have in front of us, working through our problems and what we need to do as a team. That is all part of the development.”

Pre-season testing gets under way at the Bahrain International Circuit on Wednesday February 21.

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Toto Wolff speaks out about Hamilton's shock exit from Mercedes

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