Mercedes considered starting from pit lane: ‘We just didn’t know what we would change’

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Mercedes considered starting from pit lane: 'We just didn't know what we would change'

Toto Wolff wants to start the new season as soon as possible. The São Paulo Grand Prix was an unpleasant race for the Mercedes team, as Lewis Hamilton could not get further than P8 and George Russell could not finish the race. The choices the team made last year have already been questioned, but the last Grand Prix showed that Mercedes needs to make a major change. However, Wolff is not yet optimistic.

The difference between last season’s Grand Prix of São Paulo and this year could hardly be greater for Mercedes. The German racing team dominated the weekend at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace last year. Things went wrong for Mercedes in qualifying for the sprint race due to changing circumstances, but during the races the pace of the W13 was excellent. The dominant Red Bull Racing also had nothing to say, meaning Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez finished in sixth and seventh place respectively.

Russell’s victory ultimately ensured that Mercedes retained the unique concept for the current season. However, Wolff soon had doubts. “Are we doing the right thing by continuing with the chassis we have?” the Mercedes team boss is quoted by Autosport. This year the Austrian got his answer. ‘Now it’s pretty clear. This result feels terrible for the entire team. And I wish we could start the new season and concentrate on the new car.”

The problems seemed to correspond to Red Bull’s difficulties last year. However, Wolff does not know whether an adjustment to the setup would have changed anything, although the team has considered it. “We fundamentally didn’t know where we were going to change it because there’s a much bigger problem. We even considered starting from the pit lane, but we also wanted to maximize our points, so our choice to just appear on the grid was probably better.’

Wolff: ‘Development of this car was a solution’

Wolff has repeatedly admitted Mercedes’ mistakes, which means that everything is being turned upside down for 2024. ‘In general, the development of this car has been more of a towel than actually solving a problem. But we know we are completely changing the car.” Does the team boss look to 2024 with a positive feeling? ‘In thirteen years I have never felt optimistic or confident. It may be more my problem: the glass is always half empty,” Wolff said.

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