Speaking ahead of qualifying for the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Mercedes trackside engineer Andrew Shovlin said the team had found some solutions to the issues that have been plaguing their 2022 car, but maintained that they have a long way to go.
The Silver Arrows spent much of testing dealing with “porpoising” problems posed by the all-new technical regulations, and headed into the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix on the back foot and succumbed to the pace of Red Bull and Ferrari.
Sir Lewis Hamilton did manage an unexpected podium in Sakhir by virtue of a double mechanical failure for the Red Bull pair of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, as Ferrari scored a tremendous one-two finish through Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.
But the 37-year-old found himself knocked out of Q1 in Saudi Arabia as a result of an “undriveable” car, and before that happened, Shovlin commented on Mercedes’ efforts to address the “porpoising.”
“We have done some experiments to understand the hopping problem and some ideas have made it worse and others have helped us a little, but we have not yet found a solution to solve the problem, problem,” he said, as quoted by the Italian edition of Motorsport.com.
“Compared to Bahrain, however, the balance of the car seems to have improved, so we have reduced tyre degradation and for this we are quite happy with what we have seen. The single lap pace still needs work, but we have today’s session to improve it before qualifying.”
The Briton affirmed that the Brackley side have managed to extract more performance in the corners, but laments that there is still work to be done to engage in a viable fight with Ferrari and Red Bull.
“We still have many of the problems we had in the last race, but we are solving them. We are struggling in the high-speed corners, but the grip has grown, we just need to find some speed on the straights,” he explained.
Hamilton started the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in P15 after Mick Schumacher’s crash in qualifying ruled his car out of competition, while George Russell started sixth.
The seven-time world champion could only recover to tenth, while Verstappen took victory after another thrilling battle with Leclerc.