Mercedes’ 2022 season can be described as nothing other than a nightmare, as the team struggled to a third-place finish in the championship following a shambolic start to the new regulations.
The Silver Arrows were forced to tackle a severe porpoising problem in the early stages of the season, with the violent bouncing causing both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell significant pain.
Solving this porpoising problem saw the team lose around six months of development according to team principal Toto Wolff, and as a result of this Mercedes were left in the dust of Red Bull and Ferrari for the majority of the season.
The team’s lack of pace and competitiveness was a shock to F1 fans, and George Russell has claimed that it led to tension in the Mercedes camp as they desperately tried to find the roots of their shortcomings.
“I think for sure the dynamic would have been slightly different had we arrived at the first race and had the fastest car on the grid,” claimed the Mercedes driver.
“There’s been a huge amount of late nights, throughout the season, a lot of tension at times between drivers, teams, designers with regards to ‘are we on the right track? Do we need to do something different? Do we need to be more drastic?’
“And these were very difficult conversations, but we came away from them growing closer together.
“We’ve got such a great leadership within Mercedes that we are now all pushing in one direction. I truly believe this experience we’ve been through this year will lead to more long-term success.
Things did get better for the team over the course of the season, as Mercedes managed to close the gap to Ferrari in the championship to within touching distance, and even picked up a win in Brazil to prevent a winless season.
Russell won both the sprint race and the main race at Interlagos to pick up the first victory of the year, while his teammate Lewis Hamilton suffered the first winless campaign of his career.
Mercedes will hope that Russell’s victory is a sign of things to come, and will be confident of carrying their end of season momentum into 2023, following a massive rethink over the winter break.