Toto Wolff reveals source of Mercedes’ 2022 woes

Mercedes’ run of eight consecutive constructors’ championships in a row came to an end in 2022 as the team finished in third place.

With the major changes in regulations coming into effect at the start of 2022, teams had the opportunity to go back to the drawing board and design a car that could get the better of their rivals.

Some teams like Ferrari managed to take huge strides forward last season, designing a car capable of winning races under the new set of rules, while other teams like Mercedes struggled to compete with an uncompetitive piece of machinery.

The W13 struggled with a major porpoising issue as a result of the car’s aerodynamic design, leaving the team with the complex task of stopping the bouncing before they could improve the performance of the W13.

This essentially resigned the team to a midfield finish for the majority of the season, but a late resurgence thanks to upgrades brought to the US Grand Prix in Austin saw the team nearly snatch second place away from Ferrari.

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Team principal Toto Wolff has now admitted that the team’s shortcomings may date back to 2021, when the team initially made their development plan for the new regulations.

“I remember we were discussing it in October [2021], how exciting it was to find performance through the floor,” said the Austrian.

“And the real trick was ‘how low can we actually get the car?’ I guess that sends us off to the wrong trajectory.”

The team were accused of ‘sandbagging’ in pre-season testing, deliberately hiding the true pace of the W13 to not give hints to the other teams during the Barcelona and Bahrain tests as to how to extract the maximum performance from the new rules.

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Unfortunately the team were genuinely struggling for pace during these tests, eventually starting the Bahrain Grand Prix miles off of the pace of Ferrari and Red Bull, only being handed a podium after a double DNF from Red Bull.

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The team have revealed on social media that they have already fired up the W14 for the first time, as the Silver Arrows hope fro better results in 2023 after overcoming their initial struggles.

George Russell was impressive in his debut season with the team and Lewis Hamilton has claimed that he is hungrier for success than ever following this disappointment of his last two campaigns.

Ferrari will need to adapt to their change in management next season while Red Bull’s cost cap breach punishment will see them have significantly less testing time than Mercedes, meaning the door is wide open for a return to the top for Toto Wolff’s team.