Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has stated that a new floor for the W14 car will be the final significant upgrade in 2023 as the team plans to introduce the update in the United States Grand Prix.
This week’s US Grand Prix will be the first race of a triple-header on the American continent. After Austin, teams will head to Mexico followed by Sao Paulo before getting back together for action in the final two races of the season in Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi.
Mercedes has improved its car steadily since last spring with regard to a development program, but like other contenders, it has continued to lag far behind Red Bull’s RB19, which dominates the grid.
Mercedes expects that the updated floor will boost the performance of the W14, but the main goal of the upgrade is to confirm the team’s plan for the direction of its development for the next season.
Toto Wolff will make his trackside comeback in the United States Grand Prix as Mercedes debuts their final major upgrade for the 2023 campaign.
The Mercedes team boss is set to make his return this weekend after missing the two previous races after undergoing knee surgery. While he was away Bradley Lord, Andrew Shovlin, and Jerome D’Ambrosio took over his role to steer the team.
Lord, who is the director of communications, and Shovlin each had an integral role in handling the media. They also had to deal with a teammate incident at the Qatar Grand Prix, which was handled well after Lewis Hamilton admitted culpability and apologised to George Russell.
“We have a busy couple of weeks coming up as the season heads towards its conclusion, starting with a triple-header in the USA, Mexico and Brazil,” said Wolff.
“The last round in Qatar was a case of what might have been. As a team, you never want to see your cars collide.
“It was frustrating to leave a lot of points on the table, particularly as the pace of the car was strong.
“It was encouraging though to see how the drivers and the team reacted. Both Lewis and George know the team comes first and do not ever intend to jeopardise that.
“I am sure we will all grow from this moment.
“We’re now focused on Austin and making sure we get the most out of each upcoming weekend.”
With the focus directed towards 2024, the floor tends to be the priority. The remaining races will feature minor tweaks with the intention of assessing them for the upcoming season. Mercedes is additionally seeking to maintain its position as the second-place constructor in the standings.
“It’s always great to race at the Circuit of the Americas,” added Wolff. “There’s a fantastic atmosphere and the city welcomes F1 with open arms.
“COTA is one of the most challenging modern tracks and a real thrill for the drivers.
“We’ll be bringing a modified floor, which is the last significant update we will take to the track this year.
“It will hopefully bring a small gain but more importantly, is another milestone in setting our development path for W15.
“The battle for second in the Constructors’ has become more intense in recent races.
“We will keep our heads down, keep pushing and aim to score as many points as we can to increase our advantage.”
With only a 28-point lead above Ferrari, Mercedes is currently in second place in the F1 Constructors’ standings. However, the team cannot afford another incident like the one that happened in Qatar the last time around when Lewis Hamilton and George Russell collided at the first corner at Lusail.