2022 has been a season to forget for Mercedes, with the Silver Arrows just six races away from seeing their record of winning at least one race every year since 2012 come to an end.
Nobody could’ve predicted that Mercedes, the team who have won the Constructors’ Championship eight years in a row, would currently be sitting behind both Red Bull and Ferrari in the championship.
The German team are comfortably the third best team this season; however, thanks to Ferrari’s inability to deliver a good strategy, they are in a fight with the Italian’s for second place.
Red Bull have been the class act of 2022, both in terms of performance and strategic execution.
Max Verstappen possesses a 116-point lead in the Drivers’ Championship, with top Mercedes driver George Russell currently fourth in the standings and 132 points behind the unbeatable Dutchman.
In the Constructors’, Red Bull boast a 139-point lead, with Mercedes currently 164 points behind, in third place.
The Silver Arrows have without a shadow of a doubt had the most reliable car this season; however, it’s massively lacked in straight-line speed, something which has seen the W13 perform woefully at low-downforce circuits.
Mercedes clearly went the wrong way in regard to their car’s design, with Red Bull seemingly having nailed the new regulations to a tee.
The German’s ‘no side-pod’ side-pods were hailed as genius at pre-season, given how much air is needed to flow through the car to keep the power unit cool.
Questions were raised if this philosophy played a factor in the team’s painful porpoising issue, which saw Sir Lewis Hamilton suffer from extreme spinal pain in Azerbaijan.
Whilst they’ve overcome a number of their issues, the biggest problem still remains, their ambition to win.
Mercedes are desperate to win a race this season, with second place currently being the best they’ve managed.
The team are continuing to develop the W13; however, Russell has revealed that the Brackley-based side have a “totally clear direction” on how to make next year’s car stronger than this season’s model.
“I think nothing’s off the table,” Russell told the Formula 1 website during the Italian GP.
“For sure we’ve got a pretty unique design with the sidepods. It’s not off the cards that we will continue with that design, but it is equally not off the cars that we will completely change philosophy.
“But ultimately whether we have the wide sidepods or the narrow sidepods that isn’t the performance differentiator, there is more to it.”
However, in more positive news for Mercedes fans Russell also explained that the team were starting to understand their issues better, especially the range in performance between fast and slow tracks.
“I think we understand exactly why at circuits like Zandvoort and Budapest why we were competitive, and we understand why at circuits like this [Monza] and Spa we were uncompetitive,” the Brit explained.
“That doesn’t mean that we can solve the issues overnight.
“But we’ve got to keep on developing this car and next year will sort of be an evolution of this and I think now we do have a totally clear direction of how to develop the car.”