Mercedes’ 2022 was an absolute nightmare, with the team misunderstanding parts of the new regulations and creating a W13 riddled with issues.
The Silver Arrows ended up finishing third in the constructors’ championship and were expected to make huge strides forward during the winter break to become a competitive team once again.
Surprisingly, the team decided to stick with their zero sidepod concept and have slipped to become the fourth fastest team on the grid, with Red Bull, Ferrari and even Aston Martin looking to have the beating of Mercedes in Bahrain.
Mercedes fans can take some comfort from the fact the Bahrain is not necessarily a circuit which suits their cars historically, with the track being very rear limited.
The track has not been resurfaced since 2004, making it very hard on the tyres during braking zones, making it a rear limited circuit.
Mercedes have always favoured front limited tracks and with the Jeddah Corniche Circuit being classified as front limited, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff is expecting a better performance this weekend.
“The last time I dreamt about miracles was a long time ago,” said the Austrian.
“That track [Bahrain] is very rear limited, it has a very abrasive asphalt, and that is probably the weakest point in our car.
“If you look at it from that perspective, maybe it gets better [in Saudi Arabia].
“I certainly think when it comes down to front limited tracks, we will [have] much better pace.”
Ferrari also struggled in Bahrain due to the high tyre degradation caused by the old, rough surface, meaning the Red Bull may not actually be as far ahead as they initially seemed.
Wolff has admitted that his team have got their concept wrong this season and has ordered Mercedes to explore a plan B design which will be much more competitive.
Once Mercedes decide on a design pathway, they can focus all of their resources into it and slowly work their way back to being regular contenders for race wins.