Ted Kravitz warns Mercedes could regret not copying Ferrari and Honda ‘trick’

Mercedes struggled in pre-season testing, looking some way away from challenging Red Bull and Ferrari for the championship.

2022 was an absolute disaster for Mercedes, as the team struggled to create a competitive car under the new regulations and limped to a third placed finish in the championship.

The Silver Arrows were hindered by a major porpoising problem as a result of their aerodynamic design and whilst it seems that the team have solved this issue with the W14’s design, the car is still not perfect.

The W14 is slower than Red Bull and Ferrari, who have streaked clear of the rest of the grid in terms of performance under the new regulations.

Some fans have suggested that these two teams have perfectly manipulated the power unit development freeze, which stops teams from upgrading their power unit until the engine rules change in 2026.

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While teams are unable to upgrade the performance of their power unit, they were until last summer allowed to make upgrades if it helps reliability.

Sky Sports pundit Ted Kravitz has suggested that Mercedes have missed a trick and should have followed Red Bull and Ferrari in making their power unit as powerful as possible while they still could, before fixing the reliability issues under the engine freeze.

“Given the sport’s engine freeze until 2026, there is a theory around the paddock that, because Mercedes were reliable with their power unit last year, they missed a trick in terms of designing it to be powerful but not reliable and then being able to fix the reliability, which was allowed up until September last year,” explained Kravitz.

“Lots of other manufacturers did that. Renault did that, Ferrari did that, Honda did that. It meant that they couldn’t get to the end of the season without using an extra power unit and getting a penalty but they didn’t mind because they could bring the changes to the engine on reliability but have a secondary benefit of adding a bit more power as well.”

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Kravitz has suggested that Mercedes should have risks reliability issues to have a more powerful power unit, with the team desperately trying to return to winning ways this year.

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“Take a hit on the engine penalty with reliability but be able to improve that under the engine freeze,” he said.

“But that is not what Mercedes have done and only time will tell if Mercedes live to regret that.”

Despite their poor pre-season, Mercedes have expressed their confidence in becoming competitive once again after upgrades arrive in a couple of races’ time.