As the pre-season testing and the 2023 Formula 1 campaign draws near, Toto Wolff, the director of the Mercedes Formula 1 team, expresses his optimism that the Silver Arrows will be able to compete for victories in the upcoming season.
Despite finishing last season in third place in the constructors' competition, Wolff believes that expectations for the team should remain realistic.
"We have no doubt when you are starting behind by half a second, it's going to be difficult to catch up to great organizations like Red Bull and Ferrari," Wolff stated.
"Having said that, we are super determined in doing just that, but we need to set our expectations at a realistic level." The Mercedes team is determined to fight for victories in the new season and Wolff believes that this is a starting point for the team, but cautions that the team should not take this for granted. "If we perform in the way we hope, then we'd like to be part of the racing at the very front," Wolff said.
"I think that would be a starting point, but we don't take that for granted, it could well be that the gaps are like they were at the end of last season."
Wolff also mentioned that there is still a lot of potential within the Mercedes car and that the team is working hard to address the shortcomings of the car.
"I think we have understood how we fell back and where the shortcomings are," Wolff said. "We have gaps in understanding and we're working hard on putting a car on the ground that has addressed all of that." However, Wolff also acknowledged that the team will only know if they have unlocked the potential of the car when the testing starts.
"But we will only see when starting testing whether we have unlocked the potential that we always believe has been in the car," Wolff said. The new season is set to begin on March 5 with the Bahrain Grand Prix, and it will be interesting to see if the Mercedes team will be able to live up to Wolff's optimistic expectations and fight for victories in the upcoming season.