Wolff adamant that focus remains on 2022


Despite Lewis Hamilton's call for upgrades, Mercedes team boss, Toto Wolff says that the German team cannot compromise its 2022 season, though he insists the 2021 title fight is far from over.

It was inevitable, what with the massive overhaul of the rules and the budget cap, that teams would find themselves torn between making a decision on whether to focus on 2021 or 2022.

For most it was an easy decision, but in the two-horse race that is the 2021 world championship, it leaves Mercedes and Red Bull in a quandary, for there is every chance that by continuing to focus on upgrades for this season they compromise their chances moving forward.

Having driven his heart out yet still finding himself unable to keep pace with the Red Bull, Lewis Hamilton is calling for upgrades, but like an anxious Mother at the tantalisingly placed sweet display at the supermarket check-out, Toto Wolff has to tell his driver "no!".

"It is a very, very tricky decision," admits the Austrian, "because we are having new regulations not only for next year but the years to come, a completely different car concept. You've got to choose the right balance and pretty much everybody's going to be on next year's cars.

"Some may still bring stuff," he continued. "Red Bull brought vans on Thursday and Friday with new parts, and fair enough, it's a strategy, and one that proves to be successful as it stands, because today they were simply in a league of their own from a car pace wise.

"However, at a certain stage even the ones like Red Bull, who keep on adding parts, need to switch all of the development into next year. That means all the exploitation of the car is around the set-up work, the tyres, and the optimisation of how we are running will become a very, very important part.

"It would make no sense to put a week or two, or months, back on the current car as the gains wouldn't be anywhere near the gains you're making on the 2022 car," he insisted.

"Having said that, this is far from over," he added. "We had a very difficult weekend here in Austria, with no weapons in our armoury to win this race fair and straight. But we will be winning races this season, and we will be having pole positions, and we will be fighting as much as we can for every single result."

Asked if Lewis Hamilton shares the team's view, what with his eighth title slowly slipping away, Wolff replied: "The driver will always fight with everything he has.

"We've had the chat before, and as a matter of fact, it's a very rational decision. The upgrades you bring wouldn't close the deficit, aerodynamic deficit, of the magnitude that these new aero regulations cost us. Fact!

"As I said before, they will stop aero development at a certain stage because it would be dangerous for next year's championship, to lose out in next year's championship.

"So the fight is still full on. That wasn't our best circuit in the past, and wasn't today. That doesn't mean that we have no weapons in our armoury left."

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Published: 28/06/2021
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