Ex-F1 driver Karun Chandhok has warned Mercedes that returning to the front instantly in 2023 might not be “easy”, with a small regulation tweak being made that could affect the Brackley-based outfit more than others.
Following the dramatic porpoising phenomena that cursed a number of sides early in the year as a result of the new aerodynamic regulations, the FIA has implemented a new regulation that will see the edges of a car’s floor raised by 15mm.
The governing body has introduced this to stop the floor edges making contact with the circuit, meaning that the cars will naturally run slightly higher next season, something which should stop the bouncing issue.
Of course, Mercedes suffered from the phenomena more than anyone, with the side having often refused to run their car high due to it hurting their pace considerably.
The Silver Arrows did eventually overcome their bouncing issue and enjoyed a late surge towards the front in the latter stages of the season.
George Russell and Lewis Hamilton famously claimed a 1-2 at the Brazilian Grand Prix, a race where the German side, for the only time in 2022, actually had the best package.
Overall, though, 2022 was a disaster for the Germans, as they slumped to third in the Constructors’ Championship.
The team have remained upbeat that they will return to the front in 2023, with a new design philosophy having been teased by team principal Toto Wolff.
However, given the new regulation in regard to the floor edges, Chandhok is concerned that Mercedes might endure further difficulties next season, with the side having never run a high ride height.
“There’s a regulation change next year, which is small but not insignificant in terms of the right height and the cars have all got to run at a higher ride height,” Chandhok said on the Sky Sports F1 end of season review show.
“Which is the one team historically that hasn’t run at a high ride height? The brain power that won all those World Championships is still there in Brackley and Brixworth. But I don’t think it’s as easy to fix yet as you might think.”
Should Mercedes not return to the front in 2023, then surely questions regarding Hamilton potentially retiring might resurface, should the German outfit not be in a position to fight for victories once again.