Mercedes accused of going ‘gung-ho for massive downforce’

Mercedes are scrapping their current concept in Monaco due to an unsuccessful 18 months.

Formula 1 journalist Peter Windsor has put Mercedes’ downfall since the start of 2022 down to the side having gone “gung-ho for massive downforce”, resulting in their horrific porpoising last season.

With Mercedes set to introduce their new concept at next weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, many have been reflecting on where it’s all gone wrong for the Silver Arrows, given how dominant they were from 2014-2021.

The Germans claimed eight consecutive Constructors’ Championships following the introduction of the turbo-hybrid era; however, they’ve struggled ever since the new aerodynamic regulations were introduced last season.

Mercedes fell behind Red Bull and Ferrari last year due to the W13 having been incredibly inconsistent, with the car having been labelled as a ‘diva’.

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The biggest issue with the W13, though, was porpoising, with Mercedes having designed the car to run as low to the ground as possible.

It was clearly running too low, with Lewis Hamilton having experienced severe spinal pain following the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, due to the porpoising.

It took Mercedes half a season to eradicate as much of the bouncing as possible, with George Russell having claimed the team’s only win of the campaign in Brazil.

They ended 2022 considerably better than how they started it, making many believe that they’d enter this season closer to Red Bull.

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As seen, it hasn’t worked out that way, with Mercedes having opted to scrap their current concept.

Windsor puts their struggles down to having focused on downforce far too much, to the point where Russell and Hamilton struggled to drive the car.

“If Mercedes knew the answer, they would fix it,” Windsor said during a livestream on his YouTube channel.

”You’re asking absolutely the million dollar question which the Mercedes people themselves have been unable to answer for 18 months.

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“I’ve tried my way to explain it and what happened at the beginning of 2022, completely new regs around which they will have to build cars, which were defined by wanting to make it easier to follow the car in front and more overtaking in Formula 1, it moved the whole way that downforce was generated from the wings to the underside of the car.

“Mercedes along with several other teams never predicted or managed to replicate in the wind tunnel or on CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) obviously, the fact that the cars at a certain point, were going to have a massive amount of vertical oscillation and porpoising.

“They just went gung ho for massive downforce on the car and were shocked, I think, I guess, when the car first ran and George [Russell] and Lewis [Hamilton] said “we can’t drive the car, there’s so much porpoising we can’t even see straight.”