Toto Wolff, the CEO of Mercedes F1, did not actually say he wants his team to finish third behind Ferrari in the 2022 Constructors Championship. Rather he would much prefer victory in one of the two remaining races of the season. Which is insinuating that he would rather finish third. It’s quite a clever approach considering the FIA increases development tokens for teams finishing lower down the pecking order.
That is to say, Mercedes will get more development tokens i.e. time than Ferrari and Red Bull courtesy of finishing third. It is all part of the plan to level up the competitiveness as much as possible. For Mercedes, the 2022 championship was over after the third race of the season. The team took a slight left turn in their pre-season development program and it cost them the entire campaign.
The Mercedes performs best at high-downforce circuits, as evidenced at the Mexico Grand Prix. In addition, Mercedes has out-flanked Ferrari over the last quarter of the 2022 season. A simmering return to form could see Mercedes finish second in the constructors. Can Mercedes take on Red Bull at the next race in Brazil and thereafter Abu Dhabi?
Although the Mercedes W13 has become increasingly competitive it still can not punch above Red Bull for straight-line performance. However, the characteristics of the next two races could be in their favor. More than anything Toto Wolff would prioritize a race win over finishing ahead of Ferrari in the Constructors Championship.
During a recent media interview with Dutch media, Wolff revealed his thoughts:
“A win would be proof that our car is back in the fight. We’re going for the win, we’re going for the podium with both cars, the Ferraris are behind us. Finishing in front of them would be great.”“That’s not our main priority. The main priority is to understand the car and have a fast car out there.”“The most important thing is that we continue to develop the car for next year. We’ve come such a long way and now we’re here.”“I think we’re making good progress on the car. Some of the things we’re finding could be bigger steps than just adding a few notches of downforce.”“But we’re giving everything we’ve got and then some to get us back in position to fight for the championship.”