50% of Mercedes staff working on 2014 car

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Toto Wolff has revealed that Mercedes is slowly switching focus to its 2014 car, with over half of the team members set to be working on the W05 by next month.

“We’re already working on 2014 and we’ll gradually raise the percentage of people working on next year’s car,” Wolff told the official Formula One website.

“I would say that in May we will reach a point where more than 50 per cent will work on the 2014 car.”

This move comes despite Mercedes having a strong start to the season, claiming two pole positions and currently occupying fourth place in the constructors’ championship. However, Wolff believes that the shift to 2014 is a natural move for all teams bar those competing for the title.

“There is no doubt that at a point in the summer everybody will switch their main resources to the 2014 car, as this is a very complex and complicated machine.

“Of course it all depends on where you are in the standings. Those who are fighting for the title will of course concentrate longer on this year’s car.”

With a new raft of regulations due to come into effect for next season, preparation will be key if Mercedes is to challenge for both championships in 2014. Regardless, Wolff was still hopeful of the team excelling in 2013.

“I want to be among the four top teams in the constructors championship and have a driver among the top four as well.”

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.