Mercedes are closing in on solutions to the issues that have adversely affected them in the early part of 2022, and could even find themselves in championship contention this year, according to a report.
Mercedes have been one of the more perturbed teams by the “porpoising” issues caused by the new technical regulations, and they have run parallel with handling dilemmas, causing Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell to suggest that they would be behind the likes of Ferrari and Red Bull heading into the opening round of the season in Bahrain.
When they introduced their “zero pods” before the second pre-season test in Sakhir, the general consensus was that it was a genius manner of capitalising on the new ground effect-based chassis and extend their perceived advantage over the rest of the field.
To everyone’s surprise, it turned out to be a remedial change to the car more than anything else, and as the teams headed into the opening round of the season, they qualified fifth through Hamilton and ninth through Russell.
The 37-year-old was seven tenth off the pace of polesitter Charles Leclerc, and the Scuderia would go on to take a magnificent one-two finish as the Monegasque led his team-mate Carlos Sainz home.
A double reliability failure for Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez meant that Red Bull walked away from the opening round of the season scoreless for only the fourth time since their arrival into Formula 1 in 2005, and it succoured Mercedes during an immensely challenging weekend as Hamilton secured a podium.
It did little to mitigate the wounds of their various performance woes, but trackside engineer Andrew Shovlin has recently suggested that some influential upgrades could be on the way as soon as this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
A report has also emphasised that the Silver Arrows are not a million miles away from finding some exhaustive answers to the “porpoising,” insisting that it will soon be a thing of the past.
“In the technical offices of the Anglo-German team there is awareness that the W13 will quickly return to being a competitive car, which may even be able to fight for the titles,” said a report by funoanalisitecnica.com.
“In the next two to three races, porpoising, with all the resulting problems, should turn into a bad memory. Some interesting indications will arrive as early as tomorrow [Friday, 25 March], when the first free practice sessions of the Saudi Arabian GP will start.”
Porpoising occurs when the floor of the car bounces violently off the ground, causing nauseating head movement in the cockpit, affecting visibility.
It also leads to a lack of stability through the corners, as well as lock-ups into braking zones when the undulation of the car brings the load instantaneously back down into the tyres.
The Jeddah Corniche Circuit features less bumps than Bahrain and Barcelona, where the first pre-season test took place, and this is something that should palliate the effects the ground effect-based chassis is having on the Brackley squad.
“The Jeddah track is characterized by a flatter asphalt. Which could favour a general lowering of the car. This would be the first viaticum to find a better level of performance for a team that forfeited fifteen titles in eight seasons,” added the report.
Mercedes sit second in the Constructors’ Standings following Hamilton’s podium finish, but they were significantly adrift of Ferrari’s pace in Bahrain.