While Red Bull is continuing to upgrade the RB16B, Mercedes has decided to not develop this year’s car any further in order to invest all the resources into 2022.
“It is a very, very tricky decision because we are having new regulations, not only for next year, but for the years to come, a completely different car concept. And you got to choose the right balance,” commented Wolff.
“Some may still bring stuff, Red Bull brought trucks Thursday and Friday with new parts. And fair enough, it's a strategy. And one that proves to be successful as it stands, because today they were simply in a league of their own from car pace wise.”
Despite driving a strong race, reigning champion Lewis Hamilton couldn’t keep up with Max Verstappen’s pace. The Brit got the most out of his W12, but only finished P2 with a 35.74s gap from the Red Bull driver. He is now standing 18 points behind the Dutchman in the championship.
According to Mercedes’ Team Principal “the upgrades you bring wouldn't close an aerodynamic deficit of the magnitude that is.” Hence it’s not worth it for the team to slow down on the development of the new car, as “the gains wouldn't be anywhere near the gains that you're making on the 2022 car.”
But Wolff believes it doesn’t mean that the championship battle is already over.
“The championship is not only played with adding aerodynamic parts, because at a certain stage, even the ones like Red Bull who still keep adding parts need to switch all of the development into next year. And that means all the exploitation of the car around the setup work, the tyres and the optimization of how we are running will become a very, very important part,” he explained.
“This is far from over. We had a very difficult weekend this year in Austria, with no weapons in our armory to win this race, fair and straight. But we will be winning races this season and we will be having pole positions and we will be fighting as much as we can for every single result.”