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No ‘holy cows’ on W13 F1 car as he ponders revamping 2023 concept

Jonathan Noble

The Brackley squad had another challenging weekend in Baku, as both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell battled the excessive harbor porpoise that has plagued all season.

While it remains hopeful it can unlock the inherent performance it believes its current W13 should help it fight Red Bull and Ferrari, Wolff says bigger scale overhauls could be in the pipeline for 2023 if things don’t improve soon. .

Asked by Autosport whether the team was just focusing on improving the current car, or shifting its focus to sorting things out for next year, Wolff said: “I think we’re looking at all possible solutions led by Mike Elliot.

“He is a very strong technical director and there are no sacred cows. Everything is being looked at and we will definitely get the car back on track.

“If things can’t be solved in the short term, because it’s conceptual, then they will be sorted out in the coming months.”

While Mercedes has not maintained the level of form it showed with improvements at the Spanish GP of late, Wolff insists the team is making progress in terms of understanding what went wrong.

However, he says it has yet to figure out what action is needed to take with the W13 to resolve its issues.

That’s why it continues with the kind of experiments Hamilton did in Baku that exposed him to his back getting a beating.

“I think we know what is causing our lack of performance, but we don’t have the answers yet on what the best solution will be,” said Wolff.

“We are currently experimenting with this. I still think there’s a short-term solution that makes us much more competitive, but it might not explain everything. I want to get the car in the right place for the second half of the year and also for next year. The learning is more important than short-term optimization for the weekend.”

Lewis Hamilton suffered severe back pain during the race in Baku.

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

Wolff thinks the strong performance he had at the Spanish Grand Prix shows that he can deliver good performance on smooth, curbless tracks.

So he says this weekend’s Canadian GP – at the bumpy Circuit Gilles Villeneuve where drivers have to use curbs – will be a good opportunity to explore the weaknesses.

“I think in Barcelona we took a very good step for a track with a smooth surface,” he said. “So fewer bumps, we’re in the right place.

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“I think we have a good car and we have been able to unlock the performance in the race, but in qualifying we came up a bit short.

“That’s easy to explain, because we now have two months to fix the porpoises and we haven’t been able to add baseline performance, and that bites us a bit.

“For us, we understand: we understand what is going on. We also understand what to do. And it means in a way that Montreal is a really good race for us next week because Montreal is resilient, Montreal is a high curb ride. And after Montreal I expect to have a better view.”