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2022 car already 'a toddler' in wind tunnel - Wolff

2022 car already 'a toddler' in wind tunnel - Wolff
© Reuters
Mercedes' 2022 car is no longer a "baby" behind the scenes at Brackley, according to boss Toto Wolff.

Mercedes' 2022 car is no longer a "baby" behind the scenes at Brackley, according to boss Toto Wolff.

"It is a toddler, taking its first steps in the wind tunnel," he told RTL, "where we can start to estimate where the performance is headed."

Indeed, whilst winding down development of the 2021 car, the bulk of Mercedes' focus this year has been on designing a new single seater for the all-new rules.

"We will develop into February for the specification that will then be on the track at the start of the season next year," Wolff revealed.

"Between now and then, in terms of performance, it could be a few seconds (per lap)."

Mercedes, however, is refusing to simply write off the 2021 title in order to focus on next year's rules. Getting the balance right, however, is difficult.

"There is no golden rule," said Wolff.

"We stopped development some time ago. The Silverstone upgrade was manufactured and tested two months ago in the wind tunnel."

In the meantime, Red Bull stole a march on the reigning seven time world champions - but Wolff insists that no longer being favourite "doesn't feel abnormal".

"We knew the past seven years had been extraordinary," the Austrian added.

"It's a test. We're the challengers now. We have to work our way up again."

Wolff says the rule changes between 2020 and 2021 "thwarted our plans" to do only minor development this year in order to focus fully on 2022 throughout the season.

"Maybe we could have avoided it or we could have assessed it differently," he admitted. "But it is what it is.

"Now we will fight to keep the world championship open for as long as possible and ensure that we are competitive for the next few years."

Wolff admits that the situation means Mercedes is making some obvious mistakes.

"I think the mistakes we have seen were unusual," he argues. "It could be that we always had a margin in the past few years.

"The errors were all very different - human errors, where we might have wanted to achieve something that our equipment couldn't do, or we calculated incorrectly," Wolff said.

"We are of course slower. Last year, we were one second ahead on average in good races - now we're just behind.

"And if you have a slower car, you have to compensate or sometimes overcompensate. And that's wrong," he explained.

"Because at the end of the day, the driver and the team that gets the most out of their package will win - without them stepping over this line. Otherwise, you will always make these mistakes.

"It's a lesson. We won't forget that. Now we're fighting for the championship."

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Today's Olympic highlights header

Thursday's key events


ROWING
· Comeback queen and super-mum Helen Glover goes for her third Olympic gold alongside Polly Swann in the women's pair final (1.30am)
· There is also a medal on offer for GB pair Emily Craig and Imogen Grant in the lightweight women's double scull final (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· As second-fastest qualifier for the final, Team GB's James Wilby is among the medal contenders in the men's 200m breaststroke (2.44am)
· Alys Thomas takes part in the women's 200m butterfly final, although he faces a difficult task to challenge for the medals (3.28am)
· Caeleb Dressel of the USA has been touted by some as the successor to Michael Phelps, and he has the chance to notch up a fourth Olympic gold in the men's 100m freestyle final (3.37am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· After Team GB's men narrowly missed out on a medal, the women get their campaign underway against the Russian Olympic Committee (3am) and New Zealand (10.30am)

HOCKEY
· It is a Great Britain vs. Netherlands double-header, with the men up first in Pool B (4.15am)
· Most eyes will be on the women's showdown between the two nations, though, as Netherlands - the world's best team - look to gain revenge on GB for defeat in the 2016 Olympic final (11am)

CANOE SLALOM
· Mallory Franklin takes part in the women's canoe semi-final, and will hope to do enough to qualify for the final later in the day (6am-8.45am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· With Simone Biles now out of the women's all-around final, the competition has been blown wide open. Team GB twins Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova are among those taking part (11.50am-2.05pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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