Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, has admitted that his team were underprepared for the issues they encountered with the W13 this year.
The Silver Arrows came off an enthralling title battle with Red Bull last year hoping to win a ninth straight Constructors’ Championship, while Sir Lewis Hamilton was aiming to reclaim the drivers’ title from Max Verstappen.
New team-mate, George Russell, no doubt had title aspirations too, but those hopes all started to dwindle after pre-season testing.
The German side had come up with an interesting design that featured almost a complete lack of sidepods, and it was either going to be a piece of ingenuity, or a nightmare in the making.
It turned out to be the latter, and the “porpoising” and bouncing phenomenon that came with the ground effect aerodynamics under the new technical regulations was difficult for the team to get round.
It was so violent that they had to make changes to the set-up of the car, and the compromises meant that they were struggling to figure out whether they truly had a competitive challenger.
The contact with the track surface was taking its toll on the drivers physically, so much so that the FIA have stepped in and changed the regulations both for this year and next.
When the misbehaving Brackley-built car has worked, it has delivered two double podiums and a pole position, but no wins have materialised yet.
In the end, the eight-time champions did not have the resources to fix their performances issues right away, but now that they do, putting it all into a better performing car next year is crucial.
“We lacked the tools, the simulations and the understanding in uncovering the problems that we created, with the way the car was developed,” said Wolff, quoted by Motorsport.com.
“We couldn’t run it where we wanted to run it aerodynamically, and mechanically it was never in the sweet spot. It took us months to undo some of the steps we’ve done.
“So, it’s not that I believe we’ve discovered the Holy Grail and we understand everything and it’s going to be a blast next year.
“But this is now a crucial period: literally over the next one to two months we need, with a certain degree of precision, to understand what needs to be done for next year.”
Hamilton and Russell have managed 13 podiums between them this year, but Red Bull and Ferrari have won all 16 races, and Verstappen looks set to successfully defend his world title.