“We are still hiding a little bit” - Wolff talks up Mercedes' "excitement"

Toto Wolff has revealed that Mercedes “are still hiding a little bit” when it comes to outright performance during F1 pre-season testing in Bahrain.
Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton

F1 2023 is well underway with three days of running in the desert ahead of next weekend’s season-opener.

While it’s still difficult to read every team’s performance, given the unknowns surrounding fuel loads, engine settings and so on, Mercedes seem to be in a better place than a year ago.

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In 2022, Mercedes were plagued by porpoising which ultimately hampered their entire season.

Speaking during the morning session on day two in Bahrain, Wolff concedes that Red Bull and Ferrari are fast, but insists that there’s more to come from his team.

“They are fast, no surprise there,” Wolff said. “Everybody is playing with fuel loads and hiding with engine modes. 

“We are still hiding a little bit. You need to wait also for when the softer tyres come onto the car.”

With Mercedes seemingly in a better position than this time last year, Wolff says the whole team is full of “excitement”.

“Excitement because we got it wrong last year,” he added. “We want to fight for a championship but we need to stay humble.

“Mentally it was difficult to start with a car that is not on par, last year. Hopefully we see something better, and that’s where the excitement comes from. We want to get it right. The porpoising has gone, essentially.”

Lewis Hamilton ended the morning session eighth overall, nearly 1.5s off Carlos Sainz’s top time.

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14. Formula 1 Testing, Sakhir, Bahrain, Day Two.- www.xpbimages.com, EMail:
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14. Formula 1 Testing, Sakhir,…

Wolff admitted that the W14 was “out of balance” in terms of car setup.

“When the car was out of balance, maybe you can see the car is leaving black marks when accelerating,” he explained. “It is hot, and we didn’t find the right setup, which is part of the learning for the new car.

“Yes, definitely. Because it isn’t the driver over-driving, it is the car not giving him enough grip from the rear. This is something we need to sort out.”

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