With major changes to Formula 1’s rules and regulations coming in effect at the beginning of the 2022 season, teams were given the opportunity to be creative and design a car different from the rest in an attempt to gain an advantage.
Some cars sported creative sidepod designs during some runs in pre-season testing and varied results left fans wondering what the true pace of teams would be, come the season opener Bahrain.
Ferrari made massive strides forward compared to the year prior, while Red Bull also looked impressive before suffering from a double mechanical failure related DNF.
Mercedes on the other hand struggled massively with performance, lacking the pace to compete with the front runners and suffering from a severe porpoising problem.
Team principal Toto Wolff has explained that it was difficult for his team to come to terms with the abrupt end to their championship winning run, as the Silver Arrows lost months of development time trying to figure out what they got wrong.
“For me personally, it was an interesting journey because obvious, we had a massively successful run of eight consecutive championships and we knew the day would come where it’s going to be difficult,” said Wolff.
“But coming out with not understanding what was happening – and it’s a relative game, some of our competitors understood or seemed to have a high-performing car.
“That was particularly difficult, that it took us so many months to filter out and say, ‘well, this is what the fundamental problem is’, and it cost us the season, in effect.”
With continuity being key in Formula 1, the fact that there has been no changes in Mercedes’ staff, drivers or finances over the winter break puts them in a strong position to bounce back in 2023.
Ferrari will be subject to an adaption period while Fred Vasseur makes changes as the new team principal, while Red Bull will have the least amount of wind tunnel testing time on the grid by quite some margin.
Lewis Hamilton has confirmed that he will be staying with the team in 2023, despite his contract negotiations with the team not yet getting underway due to the hectic nature of the winter break.
A return to the top of the leader boards would see Hamilton win a record eighth world championship, with the Brit admitting that he dreams of retiring as a champion.