Toto Wolff, the head of Mercedes, says that there is nothing holy about the company's Formula 1 vehicle that will not be altered for 2023 if it cannot surpass the W13 concept.
The Brackley-based team faced another difficult weekend in Baku as Lewis Hamilton and George Russell fought the extreme porpoising that has plagued them throughout the whole season.
And although it remains confident that it can harness the underlying performance it feels its current W13 has to enable it compete with Red Bull and Ferrari, Wolff adds that if things do not improve quickly, larger-scale changes might be made in 2023.
When asked by Motorsport.com if the team was only focused on improving the current vehicle, or if it was now shifting its attention to resolving issues for the following season, Wolff responded, "I believe we are examining all viable options under the direction of Mike Elliot.
“He's a really strong technical director, and there are no holy cows. Everything is being looked at and we will for sure bring the car back on track.
“If things cannot be solved in the short term, because they're conceptual, then they will be sorted out over the next few months.”
Wolff argues that the team is making progress in its understanding of what has gone wrong, despite the fact that Mercedes has not sustained the level of performance it shown after the Spanish Grand Prix.
However, according to him, it is still necessary to determine precisely what actions must be taken with the W13 to solve its difficulties.
As a result, it continues to undertake trials similar to those done by Hamilton in Baku, which exposed his back to a pounding.
“I think we know what the root cause of our lack of performance is, but we don't have the answers yet of what the best solution will be,” said Wolff. “This is what we are experimenting with at the moment.
“I still think there's a short term fix that's making us much more competitive, but it might not explain everything. I'd like to get the car in the right position for the second half of the year and also for next year. The learning is more key than short-term optimisation for the weekend.”
Lewis Hamilton experienced considerable back discomfort during the race in Baku.
Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images provided the image.
Wolff believes that the team's success in the Spanish Grand Prix demonstrates that it can get excellent results on smooth tracks that prohibit kerb riding.
Therefore, he believes that this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix, which will be held on the undulating Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, where drivers must misuse kerbs, would be an ideal chance to examine its weak points.
“I think we made a really good step in Barcelona for a circuit that is with a smooth surface,” he said. “So less bumps, we're fine.
“I think we have a good car and we were able to unlock the performance in the race, but in qualifying we were lacking a bit.
“That's easy to explain, because we've had now two months that we were trying to solve the porpoising and not being able to add baseline performance, and that bites us a bit.
“For us we understand: we understand what's going on. We understand also what we need to do. And it means, in a way, Montreal is a really good race for us next week because Montreal is bouncy, Montreal it's high kerb ride. And after Montreal I expect to have a better view.”