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Toto Wolff warns Mercedes against all-out title bid


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#1 taran

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 09:39

Toto Wolff believes his team should consolidate and research in order to replicate their performance consistently instead of going all out to win the championship.
I think he is an idiot.

Why?

Because momentum doesn’t exist in racing. Every year, teams try to build the best cars they can and every year it’s a crap shoot. With hindsight, reasons can be given why a previously fast team turns up with a turkey (see McLaren or Williams) or why a previously slow team suddenly has a rocket ship (see Brawn). But once all the necessary resources have been acquired, its mostly just blind, dumb luck which determines the true speed of a racing car compared to its rivals.

When BMW slunk out of F1, SuperMario Theissen was ridiculed for having sacrificed its 2008 title chances for a methodical campaign planned over a couple of years. As if success in F1 can be achieved by sticking to a business plan. Not to kick SuperMario when he is down, almost every manufacturer believes racing success can be achieved by carefully adhering to a business plan.

Mercedes seems to be the most recent one to jump into that black hole. And there I though Wolff was supposed to bring in racing savvy.

Racing is still a sport in which some years everything comes together (necessary resources, great driver(s), fast car, weak opponents etc.) to allow a genuine title challenge. And some years, it all falls apart despite having all the necessary resources on paper, perhaps just because another team is even better. Lotus in 1988 (camel, piquet, honda) or McLaren in 2013 are good examples of the latter.

Edited by Gilles4Ever, 12 August 2013 - 09:48.
Changed title to something less inflamatory


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#2 KavB

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 09:46

BMW proved that if you have a chance to win, you have to fight for it. Developing hard and early for a rule change is no guarantee of success.

#3 DampMongoose

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 09:54

Is this for real? Seriously? :drunk:

#4 maverick69

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 09:54

I think what he is really saying is being lost a little in translation.

I think what he means is that they have to sit down and figure out why they were fast in Hungary and build on that - rather than throwing loads of parts at the car without that analysis and understanding.

Do that - and it's quite possible that the championship challenge will be naturally sustained.

I certainly do not think it's on the level of the frankly daft decision by BMW in 2008.......

#5 HopkinsonF1

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 10:02

German manufacturer stops development on championship contender midway through season to focus on designing car for new regulations. Where have I seen this before?

If history's taught us anything, it's that a) this could backfire catastrophically, and b) the drivers would never forgive them. Red Bull have already diverted most of their resources to the 2014 car – if Mercedes push now, they have a serious chance at taking the title that everyone in Stuttgart longs for. But if they bloody-mindedly take their foot off the gas because the 'plan' was always to focus on 2014… well, look at how far that got BMW.

Edited by HopkinsonF1, 12 August 2013 - 10:02.


#6 Gilles4Ever

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 10:02

I think what he is really saying is being lost a little in translation.

I think what he means is that they have to sit down and figure out why they were fast in Hungary and build on that - rather than throwing loads of parts at the car without that analysis and understanding.

Do that - and it's quite possible that the championship challenge will be naturally sustained.

I certainly do not think it's on the level of the frankly daft decision by BMW in 2008.......

Yip

Toto Wolff warns Mercedes against all-out 2013 F1 title bid

"That is what we need to achieve - consolidation should be the agenda for the second half of the year, not looking at the championships."

Wolff was also cautious about the Hungarian result, saying it was too soon to regard the win in hot conditions as a turning point in Mercedes' tyre issues.

"We cannot be confident, it would be the wrong approach to say we have found the golden key now," he said.




#7 redreni

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 10:10

German manufacturer stops development on championship contender midway through season to focus on designing car for new regulations. Where have I seen this before?

If history's taught us anything, it's that a) this could backfire catastrophically, and b) the drivers would never forgive them. Red Bull have already diverted most of their resources to the 2014 car – if Mercedes push now, they have a serious chance at taking the title that everyone in Stuttgart longs for. But if they bloody-mindedly take their foot off the gas because the 'plan' was always to focus on 2014… well, look at how far that got BMW.


BMW weren't the only manufacturer to stop development early in 2008 and focus on 2009. Honda did the same thing.

#8 bauss

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 10:18

BMW weren't the only manufacturer to stop development early in 2008 and focus on 2009. Honda did the same thing.



dont you see the difference in both cases?

#9 Blackmore

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 10:24

It's just Mercedes talking themselves down. They will 100% go for it and if they fail they can use the cover story they are bringing out now with Wolff and Rosberg.

#10 Grundle

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 10:24

Classic bluff from Wolff. Why would he say this in public, so Red Bull buy it, that's why.
Mercedes should beat Red Bull in the next two races. Imagine that advantage with a working DRD! The gap would be huge! Pole by half a second at least I reckon. If they get tyres working it's game over. Plus, whatever they learn with tyres can be used next year.

#11 redreni

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 10:32

dont you see the difference in both cases?


Yeah, Honda's early development push was successful and BMW's wasn't. Otherwise Theissen would have been lauded for his decision.

Mclaren and Ferrari continued development on their 2008 cars until the end of the season as they were fighting each other. Only Robert Kubica imagined that BMW could have recovered enough ground to actually win the title that year, no dispassionate observer would have agreed. So the decision was not necessarily faulty, they just made a mess of designing their 2009 car.

In this particular case the circumstances are a little different - there's every chance the top teams will switch development resources to 2014 earlier in the season than they did in 2008 for the 2009 rules as they will be aware of what happened to Ferrari and Mclaren in 2009, and that could give Mercedes an opportunity. Furthermore, while Mercedes' resources aren't limitless, they're pretty vast, so they're better placed than most teams to run 2013 development and 2014 design programmes concurrently and succeed in both endeavours. And I don't think Wolff is suggesting they should do anything other than that.

#12 TomNokoe

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 11:09

I do hope he is bluffing. Wonder if he would say the same if Rosberg was in Lewis' position.

#13 alfa1

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 11:47

Because momentum doesn’t exist in racing. Every year, teams try to build the best cars they can and every year it’s a crap shoot.



And more so next year than in a very long time. It would be stupid to devote too many resources to 2014.

If I was dictator of Merc, I'd say:
1. Put 99 percent of resources on the 2013 car, right to the end.
2. Put just a bare minimum of resources on the 2014 car to make it legal and reliable, but 2014 is a throwaway.
3. At the start of 2014, when teams start to race the cars *and only then* realise how things should be to make a fast car, start development of the 2015 car.
2015 development starts in March 2014, with 100 percent of resources.







#14 undersquare

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 11:47

Classic bluff from Wolff. Why would he say this in public, so Red Bull buy it, that's why.
Mercedes should beat Red Bull in the next two races. Imagine that advantage with a working DRD! The gap would be huge! Pole by half a second at least I reckon. If they get tyres working it's game over. Plus, whatever they learn with tyres can be used next year.

Yeah exactly. Would Toto use the media to communicate with HIS own team about policy? I think not. He's communicating to others...

#15 DutchQuicksilver

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 12:01

Wolff is staying realistic. I don't believe Hamilton can overcome a 48 point deficit to Vettel, especially because we're going back to Asia soon, tracks where Vettel and Red Bull usually excel.

#16 Markn93

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 12:13

Wolff is staying realistic. I don't believe Hamilton can overcome a 48 point deficit to Vettel, especially because we're going back to Asia soon, tracks where Vettel and Red Bull usually excel.

Ah well then, pack up your things everyone and just declare him the champ today, :rolleyes:

They usually excel there because their car is sorted by this point of the year and comfortably the fastest. There's a serious possibility, perhaps probability that isn't the case this year, and that the points gap is significantly smaller then than it is now. I can see it being halved over the next two races, this WDC isn't as over as some seem to hope it is.

#17 Owen

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 12:14

Classic bluff from Wolff. Why would he say this in public, so Red Bull buy it, that's why.
Mercedes should beat Red Bull in the next two races. Imagine that advantage with a working DRD! The gap would be huge! Pole by half a second at least I reckon. If they get tyres working it's game over. Plus, whatever they learn with tyres can be used next year.

Hope it's a bluff. Because if it's true, that decision could hang over them for a long time to come. If you get a chance in this game - you take it! (regardless of what has been 'planned' for 2014).


#18 KiloWatt

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 12:17

I believe the consensus in the W04 thread was that the team would probably wait to see the upgrade package for spa and see how it performed. If it goes particularly well, they'd likely delay the W05 project a bit and focus on developing the W04 further.

We also don't know how the W05 is doing currently. If that's not doing too well at the moment, they might need to consider if there's anything left to save from that project and if it's not better to put more energy into the W04.

It would ofcourse be A+ if they could do both. :drunk:

#19 Markn93

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 12:20

Ross has said as much KiloWatt, (re first sentence).

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#20 Jimisgod

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 12:39

If you have a finger on the trophy you don't **** around sacrificing that for the chance of having two fingers on it this time next year.

Say Merc are 1 DNF behind Vettel after Spa. More championships have been won from that deficit in recent years than from a lead that great.

#21 undersquare

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 12:41

I believe the consensus in the W04 thread was that the team would probably wait to see the upgrade package for spa and see how it performed. If it goes particularly well, they'd likely delay the W05 project a bit and focus on developing the W04 further.

We also don't know how the W05 is doing currently. If that's not doing too well at the moment, they might need to consider if there's anything left to save from that project and if it's not better to put more energy into the W04.

It would ofcourse be A+ if they could do both. :drunk:

I wouldn't think they can know how well the 2014 project is going, because it all depends how well other teams' cars turn out.

At this stage you'd guess they've chosen the concept and are busy refining it. A lot must depend how much time they think is left in the current car, but I can't imagine them simply stopping the WO4 unless they fall further behind in the WDC and yet at the same time are somehow are confident about 2nd in the WCC.

#22 lustigson

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 12:43

We shouldn't take too seriously what Wolff is quoted with. If there is any kind of decision on this matter, it has already been made, whichever way that might have gone.

This is indeed PR trying to persuade Red Bull into thinking that Mercedes is already working on 2014 so that they, too, focus on next year, while Mercedes 'secretly' puts more effort into 2013, trying to win the title(s).

#23 1Devil1

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 12:54

If you have a finger on the trophy you don't **** around sacrificing that for the chance of having two fingers on it this time next year.

Say Merc are 1 DNF behind Vettel after Spa. More championships have been won from that deficit in recent years than from a lead that great.


What finger on the trophy? Mercedes stands one foot away from the trophy - and Vettel has one finger on the trophy if not two. In which recent years a driver came back form fifty points deficit? Vettel in the best car - took it to the last race by winning four races. Mercedes is good but by no mean that dominant as RedBull last year.

Edited by 1Devil1, 12 August 2013 - 12:55.


#24 maverick69

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 13:00

One must also remember the Mercedes have a hell of a lot of resources and money already going in to the 2014 car (now that it has been established that if you've got the money, you can stick 2 fingers up at the RRA just like Red Bull have been doing for the past four or so years.....)...... to the point that Geoff Willis has now handed over the 2014 project to Aldo Costa - and is now working on the 2015 car.........

Edited by maverick69, 12 August 2013 - 13:01.


#25 Markn93

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 13:06

Is that confirmed Mav?

#26 maverick69

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 13:11

Is that confirmed Mav?


I recall Brawn saying that in a recent interview (I think it was in Germany) - and there is this from late May:

"Brawn is team boss. Costa is effectively performing the role of chief designer and Willis head of research and development.

In practice, that has meant Willis has so far led design on the 2014 car - which is a big change as a result of the new turbo engine rules - but is about to hand it over to Costa, at which point Willis will move onto the 2015 car."


http://www.bbc.co.uk...rmula1/22428532

#27 lustigson

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 13:15

Well, Jimisgod mentions 1 DNF so 25 points, not 50. And that has been done.

Vettel was 4th and 25 points back in 2010 with 2 races to go (so 50 points up for the tacking). And Kimi Räikkönen came back from 3rd in the WDC, 17 points adrift (in the 10-8-6 system) to take the title in 2007, with 2 races to go (so 20 up for grabs).

The latter equals a 50+ points deficit, by the way.

Edited by lustigson, 12 August 2013 - 13:16.


#28 F1ultimate

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 13:24

Merc does stand a chance this year if they can string together consecutive race victories like Vettel has done in the past. However, hardly any team on the gird has the operational and strategic consistency of the Red Bull pit wall. Out of the two drivers, Lewis probably stands the best chance but Rosberg can be used to agitate Vettel by denying him second place on the grid or simply hold him back.

#29 Slackbladder

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 13:26

Surely a lot just depends on the next few races. If they can start eating into Red Bulls/Vettel lead, then Merc have a chance in both WDC and WCC. But they need to do it over multiple races.

If not, then they should focus on second in the WDC and WCC, which is very achieveable, and would be an excellent result as well for the year.

#30 F1ultimate

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 13:38

^^
One should never give up until the end though. Merc only enemy this year is their own tyre wear. On track, Red Bull is the only true rival on pace. The challenge would be much harder if Ferrari and Mclaren were in a good shape. Therefore it's worth giving it a push this year despite a current points deficit. Who knows, Vettel might suffer a DNF or a finish outside the points later this season.

It's not over until it's over.

#31 lustigson

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 13:44

Who knows, Vettel might suffer a DNF or a finish outside the points later this season.

Heck, Rosberg might even punt Vettel off. ;)

#32 bauss

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 13:52

Merc does stand a chance this year if they can string together consecutive race victories like Vettel has done in the past. However, hardly any team on the gird has the operational and strategic consistency of the Red Bull pit wall. Out of the two drivers, Lewis probably stands the best chance but Rosberg can be used to agitate Vettel by denying him second place on the grid or simply hold him back.



biggest advantage SV has always had especially end of season is that he can qualify on pole and run away, if Merc have truly sorted out their race pace and SV has to fight for pole with LH then sht can get really interesting. Also if Merc have the outright fastest car in qualy, then SV wont be able to beat any of the Merc drivers in qualy which will complicate things further for him...especially with Lotus and possibly Ferrari still possessing good race pace.

Sv's biggest advantage now is the points gap he already has.

As for Honda and BMW in 2008, @ Redreni, you do realize Kubica was actually leading the WDC at some point halfway and eventually was only out of contention at the penultimate race?
It was a very unwise decision at the time and idiotic in hindsight. Any chance you have to fight for the WDC, you have to go for it....nothing is promised. Honda could
concentrate on 2008 cos they had a piece of sht chassis and were barely in contention for points.

As for Merc this year, Brawn is making those decisions regardless of what Toto says and im sure Brawn will take stock of everything and do whats right

#33 ViMaMo

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 13:58

Maybe he is meaning that putting all the focus on 2013 will affect resources and effort for their 2014 car, so lets take it step by step. If Merc can win Belgium and Monza, they should seriously put all the focus on winning the title this year.

#34 muramasa

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 14:19

I recall Brawn saying that in a recent interview (I think it was in Germany) - and there is this from late May:

"Brawn is team boss. Costa is effectively performing the role of chief designer and Willis head of research and development.

In practice, that has meant Willis has so far led design on the 2014 car - which is a big change as a result of the new turbo engine rules - but is about to hand it over to Costa, at which point Willis will move onto the 2015 car."


http://www.bbc.co.uk...rmula1/22428532

wow :eek:

Mclaren-esque! :D


#35 dau

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 14:20

[...]
As for Honda and BMW in 2008, @ Redreni, you do realize Kubica was actually leading the WDC at some point halfway and eventually was only out of contention at the penultimate race?
It was a very unwise decision at the time and idiotic in hindsight. Any chance you have to fight for the WDC, you have to go for it....nothing is promised. Honda could
concentrate on 2008 cos they had a piece of sht chassis and were barely in contention for points.[...]

He was leading the WDC by 4 points after his win at Montreal. BMW continued to develop the car until at least Monza, but couldn't keep up with the big teams. I'm not sure when exactly they switched to the 2009 car, but i doubt it would've made much of a difference. Considering the F1.09, it's probably safe to say it was a mistake to switch at all though.

Edit: Correction, they had announced to bring a big Monza update, but i have no idea whether that actually came or was shelved later.

Edited by dau, 12 August 2013 - 14:29.


#36 Myrvold

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 14:26

Heck, Rosberg might even punt Vettel off.;)


Merc are used to such tactics from the DTM, who knows!

#37 alframsey

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 14:47

Toto's comments about not pushing all out for the title concerns me a little if I am honest. If Merc really have got on top of their tyre issues then imo they MUST push for one or both titles, it would be criminal not to with a car that is that quick and more over it'd be a real signal that they mean business. If they can develop the car until the last race of the season it'd be a signal of intention to others that Merc are a top tier team who can battle on two fronts successfully.

If they haven't sorted the tyres though I would agree that not too much emphasis should be put on this season.

#38 thomin

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 14:53

At this point, all the major teams have long established two teams, one working on the 2013 car, the other one on 2014. I can't imagine that any team would deviate from that plan and pull people from one team to aid the other. I interpret Toto's comments about HOW the 2013 team should go about developing the car given the resources allocated to them, not about how to possibly reallocate the resources.

#39 RealRacing

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 14:55

Mercedes have been saying, since they re-entered the sport, that they are focusing on the long-run and they have downplayed their lack of results. This has been a source of discussion and frustration in this forum since at least the second year after their comeback. And these declarations, it seems, continue the same trend. At this point, I think we have figured out that they are trying to protect themselves for the most part, I mean people with result-responsibility, while the directors must be demanding results ASAP. As history has shown, it would be crazy to discard a chance to win a championship, any of them, when one has a shot at it, to focus on the development of a potential better car in seasons to come. If you have a chance, go for it.

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#40 Owen

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 14:56

At this point, all the major teams have long established two teams, one working on the 2013 car, the other one on 2014. I can't imagine that any team would deviate from that plan and pull people from one team to aid the other. I interpret Toto's comments about HOW the 2013 team should go about developing the car given the resources allocated to them, not about how to possibly reallocate the resources.

You're making a very nuanced point. And I think you're right.

#41 Ferrari_F1_fan_2001

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 15:01

Seize the moment now. The extra revenue from the Concorde Agreement can then go into extra investment, facilities and personnel for the next few years and things pay for themselves.

Go the other way and risk losing millions in potential revenue and face a tough climb back.

#42 Seano

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 15:12

I don't care what Toto says! Make no mistake Lewis, Nico & Ross are going for it.

Game on Fingerboy.

#43 JaredS

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 15:23

I recall Brawn saying that in a recent interview (I think it was in Germany) - and there is this from late May:

"Brawn is team boss. Costa is effectively performing the role of chief designer and Willis head of research and development.

In practice, that has meant Willis has so far led design on the 2014 car - which is a big change as a result of the new turbo engine rules - but is about to hand it over to Costa, at which point Willis will move onto the 2015 car."


http://www.bbc.co.uk...rmula1/22428532


I never did understand this i.e how they can start working on a car 2 seasons away. So many new concepts and ideas will open up to them during the rest of this season and certainly throughout 2014. To start fixing onto a concept 2 years away seems a recipe for disaster. Maybe all they mean is researching on how the regulation changes specific to 2015 will impact.

#44 F1ultimate

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 15:29

I never did understand this i.e how they can start working on a car 2 seasons away. So many new concepts and ideas will open up to them during the rest of this season and certainly throughout 2014. To start fixing onto a concept 2 years away seems a recipe for disaster. Maybe all they mean is researching on how the regulation changes specific to 2015 will impact.


Major regulation changes are set years ahead. It gives teams time to develop and verify countless of different solutions and configurations for generating down force, controlling tyre wear and maximizing top speed. Obviously ground hog day is the first testing with other teams. Thereafter the car is developed throughout the season and the following years. So a car that's been developed over 3 years won't necessarily be the finished article during its first race weekend.

#45 Dolph

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 15:41

We shouldn't take too seriously what Wolff is quoted with. If there is any kind of decision on this matter, it has already been made, whichever way that might have gone.

This is indeed PR trying to persuade Red Bull into thinking that Mercedes is already working on 2014 so that they, too, focus on next year, while Mercedes 'secretly' puts more effort into 2013, trying to win the title(s).



And being idiots, they are, RB will of course fall for it... Unlike your genious.

#46 undersquare

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 15:47

And being idiots, they are, RB will of course fall for it... Unlike your genious.

Lol, OK but why did he say it? I suppose it is a press release kinda thing. Mercedes in the news.

#47 Juggles

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 16:14

"If half a year ago we would have talked about championship opportunities in the drivers' or constructors' championship it would have been absolutely crazy," he said.

"If you look at our competitors they have been able to perform at the top in a sustainable way.

"That is what we need to achieve - consolidation should be the agenda for the second half of the year, not looking at the championships."



I think Wolff is just warning against putting the cart before the horse. It's the Sebastian Vettel approach; take each race as it comes and see how the numbers add up at the end. Achieving the consistency of performance Wolff is looking for will inevitably lead to a championship challenge.

Maybe it's because I've just been listening to the music from 'Last of the Mohicans' but I'm in the mood for a hunt.

#48 Bloggsworth

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 16:26

Bonkers - If they are not trying to win the title, why are they spending the money. Next year is a different formula, nothing to carry over, so there's no point in leaving anything undone that they could have done this year.

#49 Boxerevo

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 16:34

Posted Image

#50 undersquare

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 16:36

"If half a year ago we would have talked about championship opportunities in the drivers' or constructors' championship it would have been absolutely crazy," he said.

"If you look at our competitors they have been able to perform at the top in a sustainable way.

"That is what we need to achieve - consolidation should be the agenda for the second half of the year, not looking at the championships."


I think Wolff is just warning against putting the cart before the horse. It's the Sebastian Vettel approach; take each race as it comes and see how the numbers add up at the end. Achieving the consistency of performance Wolff is looking for will inevitably lead to a championship challenge.

Maybe it's because I've just been listening to the music from 'Last of the Mohicans' but I'm in the mood for a hunt.

Yeah but I still don't see it has any meaning. The championship decision is how to allocate resources between 2013 and 2014, isn't it?

And consolidating means keeping on winning, basically, I'd have said. What's the alternative to trying to win every race, consistently?