After another race where Mercedes wasn’t able to challenge the top runners, Toto Wolff was asked if his team could revert to their original design for the W13, which was introduced at the Barcelona pre-season test.
Although Toto said the design, with its more conventional sidepods, is “much slower on paper”, he did not dismiss the possibility of revisiting it.
“Well, I wouldn’t discount anything,” the Austrian said.
“But we need to give all of our people who have produced great race cars in the past the benefit of the doubt, and we believe this is the route to go down.
“Barcelona is definitely going to be a point in time when we are able to correlate with what we’ve seen in February [in the first test where they used their old concept] and gather more data.
“I’m also annoyed by always saying the same thing a lot: gathering data and making experiments. But it’s physics and not mystics.”
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Wolff went on to say Mercedes would abandon their current design only if they didn’t believe it can be made to work, but until then they are “faithful to the current concept”.
“We’re not looking at the lady next door and if we like it more or not, because it’s still good,” he continued.
“As a matter of fact, we need to understand – before you make a decision to switch to another concept – where did this one go wrong? What is the goodness of the concept and what is the badness of the concept?
“And that is a question you can only respond to yourself, but I would be asking ourselves to get an answer after Barcelona, because that’s the real correlation we have.
“And by then, we’ve got to look at ourselves in the mirror and say: ‘did we get it wrong or not?’.”
He then again pointed out that the main problem the team is facing is the fact that the porpoising phenomenon cannot be replicated in the wind tunnel or the simulator.
“It’s clear that there is potential in the car, which is fast. But we just don’t understand how to unlock the potential.
“It’s a car that is super-difficult to drive and on the edge, dipping in and out of the performance window – more out than in.
“And dissecting the data with a scalpel is just a painful process because it takes a very long time and as a matter of fact the data sometimes doesn’t show what the drivers tell us.
“Certainly they have their hands full with a car that is not at all comfortable to drive or nice to drive or predictable to drive.
“But the data doesn’t show these big swings. We haven’t had this situation before where it just doesn’t correlate what we see on the screens with what the driver feels.
“That’s making it even more difficult,” Wolff concluded.