Mercedes have had a rough season in 2022, struggling to adapt to the major regulation changes that came alongside the start of the season and battling with problems that saw them lose ground in the development race.
The W13 experienced severe porpoising at the start of the year, which was proving a genuine threat to the health of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, and fixing this problem caused them to divert their attention from upgrading the car early on.
Hamilton is set to sign a multi-year contract extension to keep in racing for Mercedes for the foreseeable future, as he continues his hunt for a record breaking eighth world title.
Team principal Toto Wolff has given bad news to Hamilton ahead of the 2023 season, expressing a pessimistic view with regards to Mercedes returning to the pinnacle of Formula 1.
“I’m never confident – I’m a glass half empty guy, and kind of never believe that the job that we’re doing is good enough,” said the Austrian.
“I’m not sure at all whether we can bounce back to a position where we can compete for championships, because you need to acknowledge that the competition is strong. But we will do everything in our power, everything, to set our objectives high and try to reach them.”
Hamilton has recently joked that he will not be looking to insert a clause in his new contract that allows him to keep the W13 for his personal collection, telling reporters that he cannot wait to see the back of his 2022 car.
Wolff has suggested that Mercedes may have been handed an opportunity to catch back up to Red Bull, as a combination of their finishing position in the championship and Red Bull’s cost cap breach penalty will give the Silver Arrows a significant advantage in testing time.
“I think how the aerodynamic regulations are designed, and the penalty they’ve gotten, it’s 25% less wind tunnel [time] and that can have an effect,” he claimed.
“So, clearly that is an advantage that you have to utilise. Is it a given that we can utilise it? Who knows? [Red Bull] are a brilliant racing team.
“It will give them an extra motivation and against Ferrari, it’s seven per cent. But it’s around marginal games and we have been a bit closer to Ferrari in the last quarter of the season.”
The Mercedes boss has claimed that he is confident of avoiding a title drought like their rivals have experienced, suggesting that they do not have the external hinderances such as changing engine providers that could force them to step into the shadows for a while.