Lewis Hamilton suggested after a difficult Friday practice in Canada, where he ran an experimental floor and then extreme setup which didn’t work, that nothing Mercedes was doing was improving the W13.
He suggested that the squad would be better off working out what needed to be done to ensure next year’s W14 was much more competitive.
“It’s like the car is getting worse, like it’s getting more and more unhappy the more we do to it,” he said.
“We’ll keep working on it and it is what it is, [as] I think this is the car for the year. We just have to tough it out and work hard on building a better car for next year.”
But while Hamilton may wish the team to ensure its 2023 car is a step forward, Wolff thinks that his engineers and designers still need more answers about this year’ machine to understand what needs to change.
“I think you can only start to look at the W14 when you have actually understood what you need to change on the W13,” he said.
“The car’s not in a great place to say the least. I think we just need to see the remaining races, session by session and test by test. And unfortunately, we don’t have enough days to sort it out.
George Russell, Mercedes W13
“We’re lacking pace, independent of a bouncing car. And realistically we’re not going to win the championship by a massive margin. So maybe consolidating third is what we need to do at that stage and see what we learn.”
Wolff said that Mercedes’ championship position, effectively stuck in no man’s land as the third best car, meant it was more open to take risks with strategy on weekends.
He fully backed George Russell’s call to go for slicks in Q3 in Canada, even though it ultimately cost the British driver grid positions as he slid off the track and down the order.
“We are not in the championship fight and I think if we would have given Lewis a better strategy with a cool-down lap, we would have been further ahead,” added Wolff. “I think George would have been probably in an equal place.
“But this is the moment where you can take risks and I am up for risks and up for ballsy calls. This is what he did and it could have been a hero moment.
“It wasn’t, but I think you’ve got to go for it when you are where we are.”