Mercedes boss Toto Wolff offers reason for optimism as ‘plenty of surprises’ confirmed in W14 challenger

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has teased audiences that there are “plenty of surprises” in the W14 following a very poor showing in 2022.

The Silver Arrows will be keen to get back to their competitive best after suffering their worst season ever in the sport.

The W13 was plagued with porpoising issues in the early half of the season.

By the time Mercedes was able to address its structural problems, it was far too late and the team finished the constructors’ championship in third position, behind Red Bull and Ferrari.

Although Wolff admitted that the new challenger is pretty similar to last year’s W13, he said he has been told that is where the similarity ends.

That will be a welcome relief for the Austrian, who will be hoping that both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell are given the opportunity to challenge for the championship.

“It’s full of surprises,” Wolff said.

“The last time I saw it I thought ‘oh this looks the same [as the W13]’ but here’s hoping it’s not the same.”

There were a host of regulation changes ahead of the 2022 season and Mercedes made a few mistakes in terms of its design.

They are unlikely to repeat these errors this time around and Red Bull has already admitted that it is most mindful about a Mercedes resurgence.

“I’m pretty much like you, I go into the wind tunnel and it looks like this year’s car but they say to me it’s very different underneath.

“It’s about the airflow, it’s about the weight distribution, it’s about the aero map.

“Our car fundamentally changed mid-year. We changed the concept but we couldn’t see anything on the bodywork.”

Wolff explained how discovering and eradicating the problems of the W13 was similar to peeling an onion and required plenty of patience.

“I think we have a much better understanding of what the problems were,” he said.

“We’ve been peeling only a layer of the onion, layers of discovering more issues and more problems, but I think we’ve come to the point that we understand pretty well why the car is not performing.

“The correlation at least is there for some tracks so it’s all in the fine detail of how can we make the car work out aerodynamically, how can we improve the ride and make it more fun?

“I think if we’re able to solve that over the winter, at least we can provide a stable platform to the drivers and we can develop it from there.”

Read more: Sky Sports pundits credit ‘double Mercedes blow’ for swift Lewis Hamilton fall from grace

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