Toto Wolff, the team principal of the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team, feels they will struggle to match the development of Red Bull Racing and Ferrari in 2023. The Silver Arrows team started on the back foot in 2022 and had to play catch up for the entire campaign.

Mercedes were firmly in the midfield when the 2022 season began as Red Bull and Ferrari fought for the wins. The eight-time Constructors' champions struggled to overcome the porpoising issues that hampered them most among all the teams, which curtailed their development speed.

However, the team took small steps forward as the season progressed, but were unable to make the car perform at a consistent level on all tracks. It was only in the second half of the season that the Mercedes was able to make a dent into catching the front runners. Even then, they could only close the gap to Ferrari and not Red Bull.

Lewis Hamilton
Seven times world champion Lewis Hamilton was fourth in his struggling Mercedes Paul Crock/AFP

Mercedes showed signs of recovery at the United States Grand Prix and then secured their first win at the Brazilian Grand Prix. However, it was too little too late, as Ferrari, despite stopping development on their car, were able to finish in second place behind the dominant Red Bull team that won both championships.

Wolff's concern for 2023 stems from the fact that Red Bull and Ferrari were able to begin work on their cars for next season much earlier, and have an advantage owing to their superiority in 2022.

"I'm always a half-empty glass guy, and I see the risks," Wolff said, as quoted on RacingNews365.

"As a matter of fact, if you're trying to be logical, Red Bull [were] very dominant throughout the season. They wouldn't have won 15 races or more [otherwise], and also towards the end. It's going to be very difficult to have a development slope that is steeper than theirs, and also Ferrari."

Wolff, however, remains hopeful that the Brackley-based team can utilise their experience from recent seasons, and get back to winning ways in 2023. Ferrari and Red Bull are expecting a much bigger threat from the dominant force of the last decade.

"With our learnings and the values in the team, the empowerment, the no blame culture, I think we will be back in a more potent form next year. Hopefully, [we'll be] winning races on merit and fighting for the championship," he added.

Toto Wolff
Toto Wolff is hoping Mercedes can challenge Red Bull and Ferrari for the title in 2023 ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/POOL via AFP