With an average lag of approximately 40 seconds behind Red Bull on race Sundays, Toto Wolff acknowledges that Mercedes’ upgrades in Monaco will not enable them to challenge Red Bull directly, but he believes they will represent a step forward.
As Red Bull dominates their rivals this season, securing victory in all five races, the closest Mercedes has come to the race winner – excluding the race in Australia, which had a red flag restart on the final lap – was a 25-second gap.
After finishing the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix with both drivers trailing Max Verstappen by 50 seconds, George Russell showed signs of improvement – albeit minor – in Saudi Arabia, where the deficit was reduced to just 25 seconds.
However, Mercedes faced a harsh reality in Azerbaijan, falling behind by 46 seconds, and in Miami, Lewis Hamilton was 33 seconds off the leading pace.
It has been a disappointing start to the season for the team, prompting Wolff to admit that without significant changes to the car, Mercedes is unlikely to win a race.
These anticipated changes were scheduled for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, but unfortunately, the race was canceled due to severe rainfall and flooding in the area.
Consequently, Mercedes will introduce their “completely” revamped car for the first time in Monaco.
“Of course we would have liked to see how we were doing with the new car,” Toto Wolff said in an interview with oe24.
“When you completely revamp a car, you want to know what the upgrade package can do.”
The Mercedes motorsport boss, meanwhile, has downplayed the influence modifications will have on the W14’s speed, stating that while Mercedes believes they will be an improvement, the gap to Red Bull is too large to close all at once.
“Unfortunately, that won’t happen any time soon,” he said. “But I’m hoping for a step forward.
“We had to react to Red Bull’s superiority. Because we couldn’t find a solution to make the old car fast at the front or rear, we rebuilt the underbody, bodywork and front wheel suspension.”
Wolff, though, reiterated his belief that Hamilton won’t get the one-second improvement the Briton said he was dreaming of after the Miami Grand Prix.
“There are no miracles in Formula 1,” said the Austrian.
“We won’t go half a second faster now, but hopefully we’ll have fewer problems and can continue to work with a competitive car. So far it has been too stiff and stubborn.”