Mercedes aren’t about to give up on their chosen design direction with their 2022 car despite their poor start to the season, says team principal Toto Wolff.
George Russell and Lewis Hamilton were eliminated in Q2 on Friday and finished yesterday’s sprint race outside of the top 10. Their porpoising problems have been especially acute at Imola.
Wolff said the team’s attention is focused on the floor of their car which they believe is the cause of their trouble. “I think all of the goodness and badness happens mainly on the floor as it stands at the moment
“We have interesting ideas and concepts that we are exploring that have to find its way onto the car in the next few races.”
However he is wary of over-reacting to the problems they face. “I wouldn’t say there is no such thing as a concept being wrong. But is there a part of what we have done that just simply doesn’t work with the regulations, and what is it?
“You don’t need to throw away the goodness, you can keep the goodness, but if there are fundamental areas that don’t allow us to unlock the potential that we believe is in the car, then obviously you need to cut your losses.”
He said it is too soon for the team to judge whether it needs to take that drastic step as it does not yet fully understand the problem it has.
“Cutting the losses is quite defined: you cut the losses,” Wolff said. “Because it would mean that you say, ‘okay, where’s the baseline now? Is there a new baseline where we can start upon where we believe that we can unlock more potential?’ Well, if we would have thought that, we would have done it five months ago.
“We believe that this is the development direction that we need to take. So it’s quite a tricky exercise to do. Before we take such a decision, we need to really continue in the science and continue in finding out what it is, because only then you can actually say, ‘okay, cut the losses, switch to next year’.”
The team can only do that “if you understand where you got it wrong,” said Wolff, “and at the moment, we simply don’t. Not yet.”
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