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Mercedes will not compete with Red Bull and Ferrari in F1 in the near future, warns Toto Wolff

Mercedes has endured their toughest start to a season for over a decade. (Photo by Steven Markham / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Toto Wolff says that the pace advantage Ferrari and Red Bull have over his Mercedes team at the start of the Formula 1 season in 2022, means that the team is still a long way from competing with the frontrunners for victories in run.

The Silver Arrows have won eight consecutive constructors’ championships since 2014, dominating the F1 with the fastest car in every single season of the hybrid era. But 2022 has brought with it the biggest regulatory change of a generation in Formula 1, and so far this season Mercedes is far away from rivals Ferrari and Red Bull.

Their W13 car suffers from intense bouncing at high speeds on long straight stretches, known as ‘guinea pigs’, and is simply slower through turns than Ferrari and Red Bull machinery.

The team ranks second in both constructors ‘and drivers’ positions, as things stand, with Russell’s former manager Charles Leclerc’s closest challenger, but that’s due to Red Bull’s unreliability, which has seen them suffer three retirements in the first three rounds of the tournament. season.

Both drivers have talked about the need for Mercedes to improve their car as quickly and efficiently as possible throughout the year, and new regulation times often see teams develop their machinery at a high pace. Wolff says, however, that while the team’s technical staff is working hard to renew its aerodynamic package, a big leap forward will not come right away.

‘For us is [Australian Grand Prix] went better than we expected, especially after a difficult Friday, ‘said the Austrian in his Emilia Romagna Grand Prix pre-race pre-race for Mercedes. ‘George and Lewis [who finished third and fourth respectively] were both in strong form all weekend and delivered a useful pull of points to the team. We learned a lot and really maximized the opportunities, and that’s what we need to keep doing. ‘

“We know we do not have the pace of Ferrari and Red Bull right now,” Wolff explained. ‘But we’re working hard to reduce their benefit and it’s been great to see everyone across the factories come together to achieve this.

‘There has been a lot of hard work over the Easter weekend at the factory to bring improvements to the car and get it ready for the next race, and that shows the team’s dedication to reversing the situation.’

The fourth round of the 2022 campaign takes place on the Imola circuit in Italy, making his second appearance in a row on the calendar after previously being absent since 2006. Wolff says that although progress is possible, ‘it will take time’ to challenge in front of.

“Of course we have to be realistic, it will take time to achieve the gains we want, but we learn as much as we can from each race and find ways to push ourselves forward,” he said. ‘Now we look forward to Imola and the season’s first sprint event. It’s a historic, old-fashioned track with a challenging layout that the riders really enjoy. ‘

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