Mercedes working on “low hanging fruit” to improve pace in coming races – Wolff

2022 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says the team have identified some quick fixes to their car which can be delivered in the coming races to improve their performance.

The team made an unpromising start to the first race weekend of the new season in practice yesterday. Lewis Hamilton believes they are as much as nine tenths of a second per lap slower than pace-setters Red Bull.

The team is examining every aspect of the W13 to improve its performance and has already identified short-term gains it can make with the car, according to Wolff.

“We need to look at every single area on the car – aero, weight, power unit – all of that. In Formula 1 there is never one solution.

“But I think there is low-hanging fruit that we need to tackle for the next races which will improve our overall performance. And then there’s more complex things and we are tackling each of those.”

Mercedes headed one day of testing in the first session at the Circuit de Catalunya. But since the team introduced a significant upgrade to its sidepods in last week’s test in Bahrain, it hasn’t been as competitive.

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“We started the season well in Barcelona and then went backwards from from there on,” he admitted. “So now it’s about really understanding.

“Whatever we do now is, in a way, a process. We can do things quickly and we can do more sophisticated and profound changes over the mid-term and this is what we’re aiming to do.”

He admitted the team’s loss of competitiveness was not entirely expected.

“I’m surprised in a way, yes, because you set the expectations and so far we couldn’t reach them,” he said. “But I guess you just need to understand and learn from there on.

“As I always say, every season the points go to zero and particularly in a season where the regs have changed considerably, you have no entitlement to whatsoever performance. Now we have to understand better in qualifying and in the race tomorrow, we don’t know where we stand. And if it’s not good enough, then this team have proved that we can just grind ourselves out of non-performance.

Red Bull set the pace in practice yesterday and Wolff doubts any of the other teams will be able to compete with them this weekend. “As it stands, when we make our assumptions based on the three practice sessions, no,” he said.

“I think Red Bull is in a league of their own and then there’s a bunch of teams that are within a corridor of fuel weight and an engine modes.”

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2022 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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21 comments on “Mercedes working on “low hanging fruit” to improve pace in coming races – Wolff”

  1. They’ll be fine and it will be an enormous achievement by the team in such a short time. Toto is talking on massive auto pilot.

    1. RocketTankski
      19th March 2022, 12:09

      Cue an inspiring montage of engineers and designers crafting an amazing car, drivers overcoming setbacks, and the stopwatch finally delivering the good news on the eve of the big final..

    2. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
      19th March 2022, 12:46

      The first quali and race haven’t even been raced yet you’re already spouting the ‘best work from everyone at base’. How is it that Mercedes-fans are so blind to this happening Every.Single.Year and they still parrot whatever Wolff says? Do you also believe the emails that claim you’ve inherrited 10 million from a Nigerian prince?

      1. The car was 0.7 tenths down in Q3 from pole position.

        How is the Mercedes skeptics are incapable of seeing the evidence that’s been right in front of them over a week?

      2. I was being sarcastic. I dont believe a single thing coming from Toto

  2. No need for any fixes. Sir will make a heroic drive in the worst car of the field to take victory in spite of every other car being much faster. Now that Masi has been sacrificed, nothing can hold him back.

    1. Noframingplease (@)
      19th March 2022, 15:25

      I expect this sort of comments under the articles of Daily Mail,…Sir..

      1. His tone is probably sarcastic though.

  3. All Mercedes powered race cars were nowhere to be seen on the Free Practices except GR. Is it Mercedes PU is now the 3rd after Ferrari and Red Bull Honda?

    1. Or did they tell everyone to turn their engines down for practice?

  4. Hamilton will help them find something. He’s too good to be sat in the midfield as history has shown us. He’s started in slow teams and always won a race by the end of the season.

    1. always won a race by the end of the season.

      imitation is one thing, but spouting these kind of nonsense makes me wonder if you are already potty trained.

      1. Kimberley Barrass
        19th March 2022, 16:50

        Lewis Hamilton has won a race in every season in which he has competed. The only driver to do so.. Where is the nonsense?

        1. He is multiple champ, he does not “won a race” by the end of a season.
          Rubbish.

          1. Simple English. “always won a race by the end of the season.”
            It means he always had a race win in his every seasons, not meaning that he always win the last race of the season.

        2. Yes, probably talking about the 2009 season, that was probably the worst car hamilton ever drove, although it picked up later in the season.

  5. Their vegan lead driver will love the low hanging fruit but they really need to get into the meat of the problem.

  6. RB and Ferrari seem to have done the best job on the new cars so far, but given the W13’s good performance in the slow sector 2 here, there does seem to be performance to be found in the car.
    The bouncing (“porpoising” according to the press) seems to be speed related (as you would expect), hence the poorer times in sectors 1 and 3, and the low numbers in the speed trap. Not ‘sandbagging’, poorer than expected performance, just as they have been saying.
    Given MB’s track record of 8 consecutive constructor’s championships, and the presence of the GOAT (and the Kid) I expect they will figure it out, and we will soon see normal service resume. But it might take a race or two.
    So I expect Ferrari and RB (and the rest) will be making hay while the sun shines. Nice weather for it.

  7. So far there’s been no word on what these low fruits , or obvious quick fixes were. Im guess something to do with the ride height, maybe just fixing it with some kind of rigid suspension.

    1. Also there’s the quesiton, what if Mercedes were to run normal fat side pods, their engine would be so much cooler than the rest of the field, they could afford to run the engine harder for longer.

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