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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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Lewis Hamilton in action during the British Grand Prix on July 18, 2021
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States22251764
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia12211750
Great BritainGreat Britain11121235
Today's Olympic highlights header

Tuesday's key events

· Team GB duo Jack Laugher - silver medallist in Rio - and James Heatly take part in the men's 3m springboard semi-final (2am), and will hope to qualify for the final later in the day (7am)

· Two Britons are involved in the women's long jump final, but Abigail Irozuru and Jazmin Sawyers have their work cut out to get a spot on the podium (2.50am)
· Norwegian Karsten Warholm, who broke the world record just last month, goes for gold in the men's 400m hurdles final. USA's Rai Benjamin is expected to be his main challenger (4.20am)
· Great Britain have three representatives in the final of the women's 800m, with Jemma Reekie having perhaps the best chance of a medal (1.25pm)
· A mouth-watering women's 200m final sees Elaine Thompson-Herah go for the prestigious sprint double after claiming the 100m crown. Compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Namibia's Christine Mboma and USA's Gabrielle Thomas are expected to be her main competitors (1.50pm)

· The rescheduled women's skiff 49er FX (4.33am) and men's skiff 49er (5.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races
· Defending champion Giles Scott bids for a second successive gold in the Finn class medal race (6.33am)
· There is another medal chance for Team GB in the mixed Nacra 17 medal race (7.33am)

· Team GB's Joe Fraser takes part in the parallel bars final, kicking off the final day of athletics (9am)
· USA superstar Simone Biles, who has been forced to pull out of all of her finals so far, is on the starting list for the beam final as she bids for a fifth Olympic gold (9.50am)

· The men's semi-finals take place, with Mexico taking on Brazil first up (9am)
· The winner of that first semi-final will face either hosts Japan or Spain in the final (2pm)

· Laura Kenny will look to win a third straight Olympic team pursuit gold medal. Team GB take on United States in their heat (7.44am), with the gold medal race later that day (9.26am)
· Laura's husband and fellow Olympic legend Jason Kenny will also look to continue his huge success in the men's team sprint - an event he has won gold in at every Games since 2008. Team GB will first need to get through the men's qualifying (7.58am), with the gold medal race ending the session (9.44am)

· Pat McCormack will be looking to achieve his dream of Olympic gold when he faces Cuba's Roniel Iglesias (11.05am)

> Today's schedule in full
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