2022 was a year that will always haunt Mercedes and remind them of one simple thing; they aren’t as invincible as they once were.
The hybrid era has been an incredibly dominant period for the Germans, with the side having claimed eight consecutive Constructors’ Championships from 2014-2020, and six consecutive Drivers’ Championships from 2014-2020.
2022, though, saw the side battling for neither, with the Brackley-based outfit having slumped to third in the Constructors’ Championship.
The new aerodynamic era of the sport certainly hasn’t been kind to the typically dominant side, as they found themselves up to two seconds off the leading pace at certain circuits.
Failure was a feeling that followed them throughout the season, with that sensation having lifted momentarily during the latter stages of the season.
Mercedes aren’t used to losing, let alone consistent defeat, something they’ve had to adjust to this season.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff explained that during the team’s dominant period he remained “wary” of losing. But that ultimately the emotions that came with defeat this year lasted longer than the feeling of success.
“All of these years, I’ve always been wary of the feeling when losing,” Wolff told the ‘Beyond the Grid’ podcast.
“Winning lasted overnight. Landing back in Europe, the feeling was on and you were thinking about the next race.
“But when losing, I felt it so much as a personal downfall that it lasted for a few days.
“And it’s funny how your brain protects you because you manage expectations.
“You’re half-a-second behind and the next race you are two-and-a-half and your brain says, ‘That is actually solid’. But it’s not.
“You have to always reassess yourself on the baseline and that was last year or the year before. This is what we expect from ourselves.
“So every time I am getting too comfortable with a situation, every time I am not having butterflies before a race, I actually worry if I am still fully in this.”
The side did enjoy one victory in 2022, with George Russell having claimed his maiden F1 win at the Brazilian Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton having sealed a 1-2 for the Silver Arrows.
Mercedes are hopeful that 2022 was simply a blip and that they will return to the top next season, with the feeling of defeat having likely fuelled the Germans employees to work harder than ever before.