The German carmaker is trying to tame the problems with porpoises that have plagued W13 since the beginning of the season and because of which the team could not cope Ferrari and Red Bull.
As the team continues to look for answers, it sees the next F1 race in Barcelona as a key moment in defining its next steps.
Because, after running on the track in pre-season testing with his standard specifications for launching side pads, his run over the Spanish GP will give him a golden opportunity to compare the behavior and potential of different concepts.
And, given that little progress has been made this year, Mercedes he thinks a call must soon be made as to whether to proceed with the ‘zero-under’ solution or do something different.
Asked by Motorsport.com if he could rule out a return to the philosophy of launch specifications if Barcelona show that this is the way, Wolff said: “Well, I wouldn’t give up on anything, but we have to give all our people the benefit of doubt.
“They’ve made great race cars in the past and we believe that’s the way to go. Barcelona will definitely be a moment where we will be able to correlate with what we saw in February and gather more data.
“I’m also annoyed that I’m saying the same thing about collecting data and running experiments, but it’s physics, not mysticism, and so you have to remove the data.”
George Russell, Mercedes W13, online
Photo by: Jerry Andre / Pictures of motorsport
What Mercedes needs to draw from the Spanish GP weekend is the answer to the question of whether the theoretical performance benefits of the current ‘zero-under’ solution can be achieved in real life.
Having the data obtained there, compared to testing, will give him a chance to better understand whether the old concept – which in theory produces less thrust – is actually better in the real world.
The focus is on the fact that Mercedes ’zero-floor concept may have led to unintended consequences in revealing much of the floor – making the car increasingly vulnerable to porpoises.
Wolff said: “If you go through the net, you can see that our floor edges protrude much wider than anyone else’s. This gives it a different way, or a much larger range, of possible instability.
“I think our concept is different. It is clear that the launch car in Barcelona is much slower on paper, but we need to find out how we can make the current car work predictably for drivers. ”
Although Mercedes does not yet know the answer to that question, Wolff is clear that after Barcelona the team will have to inquire in which direction it is going in the future.
“I think we’re still committed to the current concept – and you need to be,” he said. “If you don’t believe and give another 50 percent chance, then now you have to change.
“We are committed to the current concept. We don’t look at the lady next door to see if we like her more or not. It’s still good.
“In fact, before you make the decision to move on to another concept, we need to understand where it went wrong. And what is the goodness of the concept, and what is the badness of the concept? It’s a question you can only answer for yourself,
“I would ask that we get an answer after Barcelona, because that is the real correlation we have. Until then, we will look in the mirror and say, did we make a mistake or not? ”