Mercedes may have to sacrifice some of their results in 2022 by working on their design ideas for next years machine, according to a report by the Italian edition of Motorsport.com.
The new technical regulations introduced this year brought about the return of ground effect aerodynamics, which had previously been banned for 40 years.
Mercedes instantly struggled, suffering from “porpoising” as the chassis behaved erratically, causing the floor to bobble of the ground frequently.
This then cost them a lot of time on the straight, and they tried to counteract this by streamlining the chassis and essentially getting rid of their sidepods completely.
This meant installing a new cooling philosophy and moving the radiators back, resulting in a wheelbase that stayed true to form of recent years in being longer than Ferrari and Red Bull.
Eventually, six races into the year, the Silver Arrows managed to give George Russell and Sir Lewis Hamilton a car that was not hitting the ground as often, and this is because they found a way to eradicate the “porpoising” as a result of aerodynamic deficiencies.
One of the caveats of the bobbling issue was that the car had to be run at a higher ride height which, while preventing the contact with the track surface and making the car faster on the straight, made the W13 extremely difficult to handle in the corners.
Now that they had sorted “porpoising,” the eight-time constructors’ champions turned their attention to lowering the ride height in the belief that the bouncing might no longer be an issue, and they could give themselves more performance in the corners.
Sadly, the next issue they came across was the lower floor hitting the ground even harder than before, and it caused Hamilton severe back pain last weekend in Baku.
It is clear then that, while the W13 is capable of scoring podiums when Ferrari and Red Bull slip up, the team in Brackley have not been able to put together a race car that can compete with them legitimately, and this is something they will be desperate to fix next year.
As a result, they may need to start looking at some more experimental designs for next year, and testing those out this season.
This would result in spending a lot of races trundling around behind the leading two teams, and there is only so much experimental work that can be done due to the budget cap but, if Mercedes can find a solution this year that works for next season, we might see the German side back in the title fight in 2023.