Toto Wolff now ‘understands’ Mercedes race-by-race pace fluctuations : PlanetF1

Toto Wolff has said that he and the team understand why Mercedes’ competitiveness changes from one weekend to the next, and that its problems at the Belgian Grand Prix were “atypical” in the context of the season so far.

Mercedes’ qualifying pace at Spa was one of its biggest deficits of the season compared to Red Bull and Ferrari, with Lewis Hamilton lapping 1.8sec slower than Max Verstappen’s fastest effort, with George Russell on pole. in the previous round in Budapest in July. .

The team took a closer look at the pace once again around the high-downforce layout at Zandvoort, which Wolff says plays to the strengths of the W13, with a totally different setup required compared to Spa.

The Mercedes CEO and team principal remained coy about what exactly he now knows about Mercedes’ track-specific performance, but he’s happy to be back in the mix this weekend.

“Yeah, it’s a bit like that,” Wolff told Sky F1 after Friday’s practice when asked if Mercedes’ pace fluctuates from circuit to circuit.

“Now we understand why that is and you can see that it’s about getting the car in the right balance, be it aerodynamically, also in terms of grip.

“Spa was an outlier in terms of what our car was like. Here is one of the best circuits and you can see that we are right where the music is playing, but let’s see what happens tomorrow.

Lewis Hamilton said the car is in a “much sweeter spot” compared to last weekend in Belgium, with the team taking a one-two finish in first practice and Hamilton taking third, just behind the Ferrari cars. , in the FP2.

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With regard to the unique concept of the car, Mercedes has gone its own way compared to most teams, with their ‘pod zero’ pontoon concept being the most stark visual difference between them and the rest of the field this season.

But despite the exterior differences, Wolff believes the changes that can be made to improve the car’s pace will occur under the bodywork.

“I think it’s more a matter of things you don’t see in the car than what you do see,” he explained.

“Obviously we have a narrow sidepod concept and on some other things the rear floor sticks out more than on the other cars, and that will certainly play a part.

“But much more important is how we’ve developed the car to run where we can’t run low on the floor and what it does to our suspension kinematics, and that’s why right now it’s just a bit of trial and error. .”

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