Lewis Hamilton and George Russell would never have thought going into 2022 that they would win a single race between them in their first season together.
Unfortunately for the two Mercedes drivers, the W13 was sent down the wrong development path by the Silver Arrows, who struggled to understand what was needed to get the best out of the major regulation changes.
A major porpoising problem essentially saw the team write off the 2022 season as they were forced to sacrifice half a seasons’ worth of development to stop the violent bouncing that was causing their drivers so much pain.
Team principal Toto Wolff has suggested that his team’s 2022 failures could be a positive experience in the long run, as Mercedes learned a lot of lessons and saw their mentality change over the course of the year.
Mike Elliott, Mercedes’ technical director, has now claimed that the attitude that he has seen from the Silver Arrows staff during their struggles has given him confidence that the team can return to the top next season.
“I think the interesting thing is how we move forward from here and I think we’ve got to maintain that scepticism and be honest with ourselves that we were behind at the end of the year,” said Elliott.
“While I think that we’ve made good progress through the year and I am really pleased with the culture I have seen, I am really pleased with the attitude, putting every effort into moving us forward, we will only see the return on that next year.”
While many drivers would become demoralised by such shortcomings, a winless 2022 has made Lewis Hamilton more motivated than ever to win a record breaking eighth world title, with the Brit set to sign a contract extension with Mercedes in the coming weeks.
Progress at Mercedes ahead of the 2023 season appears to be on track, as the team showcased the first start-up of the W14 prior to the factory’s Christmas break.
With Ferrari and Red Bull both hindered next season by a management change and cost cap breach penalty respectively, there may be no better opportunity for the team to quickly bounce back to winning ways than next year.