Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has said he is ‘super excited’ for the first race of the 2024 season in Bahrain.
The Silver Arrows went winless in the 2023 campaign – the first time since 2011 – as Max Verstappen dominated the field in a record-breaking year and stormed to a third consecutive word title.
But Wolff is optimistic about the team’s chances of closing the gap to Red Bull and, speaking at an end of season questions and answers session with fans, he explained what challenges were ahead for the team next season.
"It's to set the expectations right because we have a huge mountain to climb. There's a team that is so successful and we have a big gap to close,” he told Sky Sports News.
"At the same time, I believe we've taken some proactive steps to close that gap. Is it going to be good enough? I don't know. But we're going to see it in testing and then in the first race in Bahrain.
"I'm super excited. I'd like to start going now. It's the stopwatch that's going to tell us what job we've done."
Mercedes narrowly edged out Ferrari to second in the constructors’ championship this season after a switch in their design philosophy mid-season brought moments of promise, but they were unable to make bigger alterations due to F1’s budget cap.
"We learnt a lot," he said. "The races and the seasons that are difficult are the ones where you learn the most.
"And we always say, the days we lose are the days our competitors are going to regret, because we learn the most. I think there's so many lessons that we learned as an organisation, as humans, but also technically that will be beneficial going forward.
"During the year, we realised that our car was not operating in as stable a manner as we had predicted.
"That is perhaps because we didn't develop it in the necessary window. It was clear that the interaction between chassis and tyres didn't work perfectly. So, in that respect, this was the most important learning."
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