Mercedes ‘flying in the fog’ as W13 continues to mystify them

Mercedes have made a sluggish start to the 2022 Formula 1 season under the new technical regulations.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff is optimistic that there is plenty of performance in their 2022 challenger, but admits they are having some trouble unlocking it.

While the new technical regulations helped the likes of Ferrari, Haas and Alfa Romeo to climb up the order, Mercedes have had difficulty understanding their W13 as the ground effect aerodynamics posed issues for the Brackley side.

The introduction of new skinny sidepods to the car were perceived to be another piece of game-changing innovation from the eight-time constructors’ champions, but it now appears that it may well have been a last-ditch attempt to salvage some speed for an underperforming car.

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The consensus is that the Silver Arrows’ almost complete lack of sidepods have caused detrimental exposure to the floor, which might explain why they are suffering from so much “pospoising,” but Wolff has been adamant that he would rather understand why their current setup is not working rather than blindly switch to another concept.

But gaining a comprehension of the temperamental machine is evidently easier said than done.

“We have been [struggling] straight from the beginning, flying in the fog a little bit,” said Wolff, quoted by GPFans.

“And it is clear that there is potential in the car and she is fast but we just don’t understand how to unlock the potential.

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“It is a car that is probably super-difficult to drive on the edge, dipping in and out of the performance window, more out than in, and dissecting the data with a scalpel is just a painful process because it takes a long time.”

The Austrian laments that what Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell are feeling out on track is not matching up with what the team are seeing on the data, which is further convoluting the situation.

“We haven’t had this situation before in any of the years that it just didn’t correlate on the screens, what we see, with what the driver feels and that is making it even more difficult,” he added.

The bouncing of the car did seem to be a little easier for Mercedes in Miami, and Russell finished fifth ahead of Hamilton as the German outfit took 18 points from a much-improved weekend in Miami following their woeful Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.