Christian Horner questions how Mercedes didn’t break 2022 budget cap

Red Bull comfortably won both championship titles in 2022, becoming almost unbeatable while Mercedes and Ferrari struggled.

The new regulations that came into effect at the start of 2022 provided every team with the opportunity to choose a unique development pathway in their attempt to be successful in F1’s new era.

Red Bull and Ferrari seemingly figured out what was needed to be competitive early on in the season, while Mercedes struggled with slow and problematic W13.

Not only did the car lack that pace to match the top teams, it also harboured a major porpoising problem that became a genuine health risk to Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

The Silver Arrows reportedly had to dedicate the first half of the season to fixing this bouncing issue, meaning that little to no performance upgrades were developed for the W13 until after the summer break.

READ: Mercedes had ‘really big development programme’ despite Max Verstappen fight

When Mercedes finally did bring major upgrades to the W13 to the Grand Prix in Austin, the team became competitive, pushing Red Bull until the very end of races and even picking up a win in Brazil.

Going from uncompetitive to race winning with only half a season of development was a very impressive turnaround by Mercedes and Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has admitted that the team’s development took him by surprise.

“Under the budget cap, it has been surprising just the amount of development,” said the Red Bull boss, as quoted by GPFans.

“It has certainly been surprising the rate they have developed, particularly in the second half of the year. But that is F1.

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“When you consider where they were in Bahrain to where they were at the end of the year, it was a big step.”

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Mercedes have wasted no time in preparing for next season, showing their fans on social media just before Christmas that the W14 had already been fired up for the first time.

Toto Wolff has admitted that his team have been brought back down to earth following their eight-year winning run in the constructors’ championship, but believes that this will only benefit them in the long run.

Lewis Hamilton is set to sign a multi-year contract extension in the coming weeks which might come as the biggest indicator yet that Mercedes will be competitive once again in 2023, as the seven-time world champion looks to move ahead of Michael Schumacher with the most titles of all time.