According to Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff, the first two races of the new F1 season have shown that Mercedes is six to twelve months behind Red Bull.
Already after the first race in Bahrain, Toto Wolff made it clear that he is throwing in the towel this season and that Mercedes will have to hope for a much better season next year. This year, according to Toto Wolff, the world title is out of reach.
According to Wolff, the much-discussed zero sidepod design cannot be developed sufficiently to keep up with Red Bull. At Mercedes they now want to aggressively develop the car in a different direction and move away from their own concept. Nevertheless, there will be a need for enormous development speed to keep up with Red Bull.
I think we are currently about six to 12 months behind, which is the time it took us to find out what was wrong with the car in 2022, Wolff said. That means we have to double our development speed, we have to have a stronger and more logical development of the car.
The progress that Red Bull will make with its developments will also be smaller as the car matures.
Red Bull has by the fact that it became world champion and infringed on it. budget cap less wind tunnel time. That can help, according to Toto Wolff. At the same time, however, there is a risk that Red Bull will continue to dominate Formula 1 until the next major rule change in 2026.
That is indeed a risk, says Wolff. However, this is a championship on three levels: budget cap, technical and sporting.
We will have to get all aspects right to improve our relative performance against Red Bull and challenge them.