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Saturday, September 23, 2023

Toto Wolff reveals his end-of-season Mercedes dream for Abu Dhabi GP: PlanetF1


Toto Wolff believes pole position at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November will represent Mercedes’ recovery from a troubled start to the 2023 Formula 1 season.

After just one victory in 2022, Mercedes would have hoped to return to this season’s championship contention with the W14, but was shockingly tenths behind on pole at the opening round in Bahrain. Sixth.

The result forced Wolff to admit the team was on the wrong development path for 2023 and order sweeping changes to the car, with technical planner James Allison brought back to the front.

Mercedes is expected to field a heavily revised car at this weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola, in what could be seen as a major step in the resurgence of the eight-time constructors’ champion.

The 2023 title will almost certainly go to Red Bull, winner of the first five races, with Mercedes facing off against Ferrari and customer team Aston Martin for the best of the rest.

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From their lackluster start in Bahrain, Wolff will be content with a car capable of challenging for pole and winning in Abu Dhabi at the end of the 2023 season.

According to the Spanish edition of Motorsport.com, he told DAZN: “If I could close my eyes and open them again, I would like to take pole in Abu Dhabi and fight for victory.

“I would say [through] Ups and downs, we’ve been the most competitive for eight years, and we’ve won championships.

“Last season was a difficult start, although we performed well and even got on the podium, it was a very tough time.

“There’s been a lot of ups and downs, but there’s also a lot of learning.”

Mercedes had to wait until the penultimate round of last season to finally claim victory, narrowly avoiding its first winless race since 2012.

The victory was won by George Russell in Brazil – but it was later suggested that it had actually misled Mercedes to stick with the 2023 car after Red Bull struggled to find a workable setup in limited pre-sprint practice. The zero pod concept Max Verstappen was handicapped for the rest of the weekend at Interlagos.

Verstappen finished a disappointing sixth in Brazil, but recovered for the season finale in Abu Dhabi the following weekend, after Russell (fifth) and team-mate Lewis Hamilton (DNF) struggled. Struggling to win from pole position.



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