Helmut Marko agrees with Damon Hill over Mercedes despite Wolff claims
Hamilton opens up on plans to remain in F1 ahead of new season
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Red Bull chief Helmut Marko has agreed with Damon Hill over Mercedes’ biggest problem in 2023. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff called for the Silver Arrows to design a whole new concept after the team struggled in Bahrain.
However, Marko has claimed the team would be “limited in their options” due to F1’s strict budget cap rules. 1996 champion Hill issued a similar warning last week despite assurances from Wolff the team would be okay financially.
Marko told German broadcaster NTV: “It’s not one problem, it’s several problems. The solution didn’t come over the winter, either, which I’m rather surprised about.
“You are simply limited in your options now. You can’t design two or three cars in a year. Even if a completely new car comes, now, then it will be difficult afterwards because of the financial limitations.
“In this respect, I think it’s realistic to say the world title is out of reach for Mercedes.”
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Lewis Hamilton and George Russell lacked pace in the first race with the squad now only the fourth-fastest team on the grid. Hamilton has since pointed the blame at Mercedes engineers as he suggested the team didn’t listen to him ahead of the new campaign.
After qualifying in Sakhir, Wolff instructed his mechanics to go back to the drawing board to find a new concept. But, Hill also stressed the lack of money due to FIA rules could make it hard for Mercedes to completely change their direction of travel.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1, Hill commented: ‘With the cost cap involved in from one now they can’t just go back to the factory and spend a lot of money and redesign a car because that will also imply they have to abandon what they think they know and go and follow others who have gone in a different direction and they don’t have any information on all of that, they don’t have the wind tunnel knowledge.”
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Last week, Mercedes revealed they already had a new idea being developed in the wind tunnel ahead of Saudi Arabia. Wolff also admitted the team were prepared to pump resources into one idea once they found a system which worked.
Wolff explained: “I’m not sure the budget cap really gives you constraints in the position where we are because we just need to decide which direction we’re going and put all the resources behind it. I don’t think we’re constrained by the budget cap.
“We’re not going to develop two cars side-by-side, but we’re going to develop one car and we will decide that in the next days and weeks which car that will be.”
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