Mercedes’ spell of dominance in Formula 1 has come to an abrupt end, with Red Bull winning the constructors’ championship comfortably in 2022 – their first since the Sebastian Vettel era.
Mercedes never got going in 2022 after looking significantly off the pace at the season opener in Bahrain, where they found themselves battling with Alfa Romeo and Haas more than Ferrari and Red Bull.
The W13 struggled badly with porpoising, with the violent bouncing becoming a genuine health risk to Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, and solving this problem caused the team to lose further ground in the development race.
Team principal Toto Wolff has suggested that his team understand where they went wrong this season, claiming that they never quite got to grips with the major regulation changes that came at the start of the year.
“The regulations changed, we got it wrong, but all the other pillars are still in place, and we have to tune the systems and understand, and I think, I’m 100 per cent sure that this was a difficulty that was necessary for us to re-motivate, re-energise, the organisation,” explained the Austrian.
“We won eight times in a row, more than 100 races, and this had again made us come back down to the ground, made us appreciate how it feels when you win in Brazil, and also understand how difficult it is to recover, not from a race like we’ve had before, but from many races that were just not good enough.”
Both Ferrari and Red Bull have experienced dry patches, where they have gone a significant period of time without winning a title, with Ferrari still hunting for their first championship since 2008.
Some fans have suggested that it could be Mercedes’ time to step aside for a while, however Wolff is confident of avoiding a title drought.
“You know, of course, we were talking about it, we are analysing what were the reasons in the past that teams dominated over an era suddenly lost performance, and you can trace it back pretty well,” he explained.
“A change of regulation, people leaving, a tyre that changed fundamentally. And we have the same organisation, the same capability, the same financial funding, and I believe we can trace it back and I think we want to avoid the mistakes.”
Mercedes has expressed their confidence in 2022 being a one-off failure, and with Red Bull hindered by their cost cap penalty for next season, the Silver Arrows have the chance to take advantage and return to the top.