The debut of the W14B, which took place at the Monaco Grand Prix, had not impressed anyone. Indeed, it had raised more than one doubt about the goodness of the innovations introduced by Mercedes in the Principality. A week later, the Brackley-based team returned home with a nice double podium signed by Lewis Hamilton, second, and George Russell, third.
The result can only please the team, but more than anything else it bodes well for the continuation of the season and, above all, for 2024. These are the performances that the Frecce nera demonstrated during the weekend just ended, at the Spanish Grand Prix.
The W14s denoted an excellent race pace, a symptom that the engineers who redesigned the 2023 single-seaters have found the right way to make up ground against their rivals.
At the end of yesterday’s race at Montmelo, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff showed all his satisfaction with the progress made in such a short time. Now the W14 is truly a foundation on which to build for the present and to prepare for the future.
“The double podium is a testament to the hard work we have done in recent months and the courage in terms of the development direction we have decided to take. A different front suspension, a different bottom, also a different bodywork and many other completely new elements, and the operations have borne fruit. Now we have a really solid base, which we understand better than before, from which we can start to make the development”.
George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14, Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23, Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C43
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
“The gap from Red Bull I think was 2 or 3 tenths. This is my judgement. And this is how we judged the Barcelona weekend. It is a huge step forward. But we must remain calm, because even the year last year we did decently well in Barcelona. We know there will be more difficult moments, but I’m happy with the work the team did in Brixworth and Brackley.”
With the double podium in Barcelona, Mercedes is a candidate to quickly become the second force in the World Championship. Wolff, however, tries to keep his feet firmly on the ground. In Canada – a completely different track from Barcelona – things could be different. Furthermore, the team wants to take more time to better understand the behavior of the new components to continue preparing for the present and the future.
“I’m never optimistic. Only fools are, but in general I think the situation is different from last year. We are still in a phase of change and it is interesting that this is the case, but over the last 12 months we have learned a lot. That’s why I have many reasons to be a little more confident.”
“Now we will have to manage our expectations. We don’t want to go to Canada and think that we can still do a double podium, because we could also only do a fifth and a sixth place. It will be something to understand over the weekend.”
“We just have to keep working, because speed is not so important, but our understanding of the vehicle. In the last 2 months we have rushed things and this has worried us, because we had to change the times of the processes. But in Barcelona we saw that this work has paid off,” concluded Wolff.
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