Mercedes ‘changing things,’ eye big gains – Wolff
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said his team are “changing things” in a bid to improve their position ahead of the Australian Grand Prix on April 2.
Speaking to reporters at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, team principal Wolff said he would have no shame if the revamped car ended up resembling a Red Bull, so long as it was quick.
“We are just storming full steam ahead now and changing things,” he said.
“We are making really big steps at the moment with our R&D, with our understanding in the [wind] tunnel, that is really big steps because we just needed to have the confirmation in Bahrain that we got it wrong.
“I think if we continue to do the big steps that we’ve already done in the last 10 days then I think we come to a stage where we are really able to respond.”
George Russell and seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth and fifth in Jeddah respectively, still a long way off Red Bull and behind Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso but ahead of both Ferraris.
In Bahrain, Mercedes were the fourth fastest team. Red Bull have won both races to date one-two, dropping only one point for a fastest lap.
Two-time world champion Max Verstappen went from 15th to second in Saudi Arabia, powering past Hamilton — who said on Saturday he felt “at a bit of a loss” with his car — as if lapping a back-marker.
“The kind of gains that are coming in, in our R&D and in aero, are much bigger than we’ve had over a long time,” Wolff said after Russell qualified fourth before moving up to third on the Saudi Arabian starting grid.
“We’ve unlocked some potential because we simply look at things from different angles now. We have a different perspective, because of our learnings of the Bahrain test and race.”
Wolff said he did not want to sound “foolishly optimistic” but all the car’s visible aerodynamic surfaces were being reconsidered.
“The car is being turned upside down at the moment and there’s a lot of goodness that we see,” he added. “We see low hanging fruit with things that are encouraging.”
“We have no dogmatism of how the car should look like. It just needs to be the quickest possible race car. If that car looks like a Red Bull … I don’t care. I will have no shame if it’s quick.”
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