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.”
Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.
The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.
Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.
Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.
“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”
Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”
Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.
The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.