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Wolff says 'sails are set' as Mercedes shift focus to 2024 car and plot route to 'winning titles again'

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SPA, BELGIUM - JULY 30: Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff walks in the Paddock prior to the

Toto Wolff insists there is “light at the end of the tunnel” for Mercedes in this frustrating season for the Silver Arrows – and has revealed the team's focus is now switching to next year's car.

After eight consecutive constructors’ titles from 2014 to 2021, Mercedes took a step back in 2022, struggling to get to grips with the ground effect technical regulations introduced into the sport at the beginning of last year, and falling behind Red Bull and Ferrari.

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But after a stronger end to the 2022 campaign – which saw George Russell win the Sao Paulo Grand Prix – expectations were raised that Mercedes could catapult themselves back into championship contention heading into 2023.

However, after a slow start to the year Mercedes revamped the W14, ditching their 'zero sidepod' concept for a more conventional design. This has helped push them up the order with the Silver Arrows now second in the championship.

And Wolff says the entire team is now laser-focused on finding their title-winning form as soon as possible.

“Our season didn’t really start well in Bahrain, but I think over the last races we’ve been able to comprehend the car a little bit better," he said in his mid-season review.

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 05: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas

Wolff reflected on Mercedes' difficult start to the 2023 season in Bahrain

“And the race for P2 is really tight between Aston Martin, Ferrari, McLaren, and ourselves. Now it’s really focusing on what we need to do in order to be winning championships again.”

Wolff continued: “Positives are we clearly see some development routes that function. We understand where we need to add performance.

READ MORE: Shovlin says he has 'no doubt' Russell will win a championship provided Mercedes can give him the car

“It’s a frustrating process because it takes time to change the car fundamentally, the concept and aerodynamics. But there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel.”

Asked what the team could do better with the car, Wolff answered: “Main areas of improvement is just about giving the drivers a more reliable car.

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 23: George Russell of Great Britain driving the (63) Mercedes AMG Petronas

Wolff says Mercedes are looking forward to optimising the W14 having turned their attentions to 2024

“It’s not about absolute amount of downforce but it’s just for them to know the car is going to be stable when they come into the corner, which isn’t the case at the moment.”

Looking ahead to the second half of the year, which is set to kick off in Zandvoort with the Dutch Grand Prix on August 25-27, Wolff explained that Mercedes are looking forward to optimising the performance of the W14, with attentions already turning to their 2024 car.

READ MORE: Our writers look back on 2023 so far and predict what's to come in the second half of the season

“The sails are set for 2024,” Wolff explained. “Now with the car development almost stopped for this year, I find it good because there is so much, we can optimise on the current car without looking too much into upgrades.

“Let’s see how we can really get it into more of a sweet spot while gaining more understanding for next year.”

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