Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff said their difficult 2022 season was “absolutely necessary” for the team’s future success.
Mercedes, which had won the last eight constructors’ championships, finished the season third and won just one race.
Wolff said: “I am sure that this difficult year has been necessary to re-motivate and re-energize the organization.
“It got us back down to earth, made us appreciate what it feels like to win.”
Wolff said Mercedes had analyzed how previous dominant teams had lost their advantage.
“We are looking at that and think we better be careful because a season has passed, in the blink of an eye, and we can’t let that happen after next season and the next,” he said. -he declares.
And he said he was going to put the tough 2022 car into reception at the Mercedes factory in Brackley “so every day when we walk in we know how tough it can be”.
Wolff said he believed Mercedes had the tools to get back to the front, saying: “We are aware of that, the regulations have changed and we got it wrong, but all the other pillars are still in place.”
But he added: “I’m a half empty guy and I never believe the job we do is good enough. I’m not sure at all if we can bounce back to a position where we’re competing for championships.
“Because we must recognize that the competition is strong but we will do everything in our power, everything to set our objectives high and try to achieve them.”
Wolff said the team’s difficult start to the season, when the car suffered from an aerodynamic phenomenon known as ‘porpoising’ – or ‘bouncing’ – meant catching world champions Red Bull would not be easy .
“We wasted many months of development because we had to fix the porpoising issue before we could get the car back to performance, because everything we added in terms of downforce wasn’t going anywhere, the drivers weren’t going anywhere. couldn’t feel it,” he said.
“It has become even more unpredictable and the rebounds have gotten worse. So given a six-month delay in improving the performance of the car, it will be extremely difficult to catch up with Ferrari and Red Bull.
“And we started the 100m 10m sprint behind everyone else, so we just have to run faster and this organization has everything it takes to run faster.”
Mercedes’ only victory this season came in the penultimate race of the season in Brazil, courtesy of George Russell.
But the cars were uncompetitive in the final in Abu Dhabi, where Russell finished fifth and team-mate Lewis Hamilton retired while running fourth with a hydraulic failure.
Russell described Abu Dhabi as “a bit of a reality check and very much needed as we still recognize that we have a lot to do to fight back with Red Bull next season”.
He added: “We have a car with a lot of potential, but the performance window is far too narrow and these variations in performance between the tops of Brazil, Mexico, Singapore and here are far too wide.”
Russell said he didn’t care much that he finished the season with 35 points and two places ahead of Hamilton in the championship.
“If you had told me that at the start of the season,” Russell said, “I would have been incredibly proud and happy about that, because nine times out of 10 if you finish ahead of Lewis Hamilton, you’ll probably be world champion. . .
“But in a season like this where the car hasn’t performed well and we’ve both had our struggles…I have no doubt he’ll be back to normal next year if the car is able to win the championship.
“He had a tough start to the season, things weren’t going well for him and they were a bit more fluid for me. It changed a bit in the second half of the season, but it probably evened out. “
Asked how he felt after finishing an F1 season without a win for the first time in his career, Hamilton said: “I always believed until the last race that there was potentially a luck, I think it’s important to have hope.
“I gave it my all and the last race was almost like the whole season sums up the whole year and I’m glad it’s done.
“It would have been nice to have a win. One win is not really enough. I feel like this year when we got our first fifth, it was like a win; first fourth, it was like a win; first podium was like a win. The seconds really felt like we achieved something, so I’m hanging on to those.”