The 2022 season saw the introduction of some huge regulation changes, which sent the teams back to the drawing board to design a completely new car.
Mercedes have been almost unbeatable in recent years, with the W11 from 2020 being one of the most impressive pieces of machinery to ever be seen on a Formula 1 track.
The Silver Arrows were expected to design one of the top cars again under the new regulations and were even accused of ‘sandbagging’ in pre-season, as the W13 looked off of the pace in the Bahrain tests.
Unfortunately for the team, there was no trickery or deception, only problems, as the W13 lacked the performance of a Red Bull or Ferrari and also harboured a severe porpoising issue.
It took Toto Wolff’s team the first half of the season to stop this bouncing, meaning that any performance-based upgrades were put on hold until after the summer break.
With the 2023 season fast approaching, Wolff has reflected on his team’s failures last year, offering an explanation for their shortcomings.
“We got the physics wrong. It’s no myth,” he told The Times.
“We misinterpreted some of the regulations. We put too much emphasis on seeking performance in a car that was supposed to run on the ground, very low. But you can’t run it so low, because [the floor] was hitting the ground.
“So we had to lift it up, which changed things again. It sounds like a trivial explanation, but this is the reality.”
Having won the previous eight constructors’ championship titles, Mercedes were brought crashing back down to earth last season, winning only a single race in Brazil and finishing a lacklustre third in the championship.
One positive that the team can take away from last year is the performance of new signing George Russell, who made the move from Williams to replace Valtteri Bottas.
In his first season fighting at the front of the grid, Russell picked up the Silver Arrows’ only win of the season and went on to finish two places above his legendary teammate Lewis Hamilton in the drivers’ championship.
Should the W14 be a competitive car, Mercedes will have to brace themselves for another internal title race, but will hope that there is not a repeat of the Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton fallout.