Mercedes ‘still don’t understand’ W13 ahead of major upgrades

Mercedes have managed a best finish of third so far in 2022.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has conceded that his team have still not gained a full comprehension of the car that has struggled for performance so far in 2022.

The new technical regulations saw a return to ground effect aerodynamics, and the subsequent “porpoising” as the floor of the car bounces off the track surface has been a perennial thorn in the Silver Arrows’ side.

Their performance has been soundly outmatched by both Ferrari and Red Bull, who have won all of the first five races between them through Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen.

READ: Wolff ‘really happy’ with ‘respectful’ Mercedes drivers

The best result of the season has been third for Mercedes after Hamilton achieved it in Bahrain, before team-mate George Russell managed the same result in Australia.

They appeared to have a better handling of the bouncing in Miami after they introduced upgrades that helped streamline the car and make it more effective in a straight line, but circuits that require more downforce with quicker corners like the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona will require a more fundamentally balanced car.

This is something that the Brackley side will try to achieve with another upgrade ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend, but developing a car is a lot easier when you understand what is wrong with it, and Mercedes do not.

“We still don’t understand our car. We had a really good day at Friday practice in Miami and were among the fastest,” Wolff told Sport24 Auto.

“On Saturday everything was suddenly different again. Minimal changes in the set-up have a big impact.”

Article continues below

One of the “few highlights” of the season so far for Wolff has been the dynamic between Hamilton and Russell, and he has enjoyed seeing them work collaboratively to help the team work their way out of the tricky spot they are in.

“I enjoy seeing them working together, the level is high from both of them,” explained the Austrian. 

“And that has put us in a decent situation in the Constructors’ Championship, so I couldn’t wish for any better pairing.

READ: Horner indicates $200 million entry fee is not enough

“I’m really happy about the two of them, how they interact, how respectful they are with each other.”

Mercedes are 62 points behind leaders Ferrari in the Constructors’ Standings, the furthest back they have been since 2013.