Mercedes have just four races remaining to alleviate the pain of 2022, as the Germans look all but set for their worst yearly performance since the start of the hybrid era in 2014.
The hybrid era may as well be renamed as the ‘Mercedes’ era, as the Silver Arrows have been completely dominant up until this season.
From 2014-2021, Mercedes claimed every Constructors’ title and all but one Drivers’ Championship, meaning that when the two titles are combined, they’ve won 15 of the 16 titles on offer since 2014.
They’ve had to readjust their bearings this season, with the side having made a mess of the revolutionary aerodynamic regulations, which were introduced this season.
Mercedes have simply attempted to be too smart, by introducing the ‘zero sidepods’.
The concept the side introduced is unlike one ever seen before, with the W13 effectively having a long slit on either side of the engine cover, rather than the traditional sidepod gap.
Whilst it’s a piece of engineering genius, it’s ultimately proved costly in performance.
The design saw the side suffer from a horrific porpoising problem, as a result of the increased volume of air going over the car rather than through the sidepods.
As a result of this, the car was pushed towards the circuit due to the force of the passing air, resulting in Lewis Hamilton and George Russell having a fairly uncomfortable ride at the start of the year.
Due to the car bouncing along most straights at the start of the year, Mercedes lost performance by having to raise their car, due to the safety of the drivers.
The car was bouncing so extremely at Azerbaijan that Hamilton suffered from spinal pain, which made getting out of the car near impossible for the seven-time World Champion.
Mercedes have improved considerably since the start of the year; however, it’s all too little, too late.
The Brackley-based side are third in the Constructors’ Championship and 67 points behind Ferrari, meaning that third is the likely outcome for the Germans.
A victory also still eludes the reigning Constructors’ Champions, who have just four races remaining to claim their first win of the season.
Should Mercedes fail to win a race, then it’ll be the first season since 2013 where the Germans have failed to finish on the top step of the podium.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has identified the team simply need to “pick ourselves up” rather than remain down in the dumps, with the focus now being on taking “risks”.
“We have to be humble and have to pick ourselves up,” he told Formule1.nl.
“If something goes wrong, we blame the problem, not the person.
“Precisely now we have to find out what can be done better and take risks: we have always been strong at Mercedes.”
A theme throughout the season is that Mercedes haven’t appeared to know why they’ve been almost two seconds off the pace at certain venues (traditionally low downforce circuits).
This theme of being in the unknown is supposedly over according to Wolff, who has revealed that they’ve solved the “puzzle” for next year’s car.
It is somewhat of a threat to Red Bull and Ferrari that the Silver Arrows will be back to the top in 2023, with Wolff hailing 2022 has an “interruption” to their dominance, “not the end”.
“The puzzle is complete,” admitted Wolff.
“The reason we didn’t perform as expected this year is that we didn’t put the pieces of the puzzle together.
“Believe me, this is not the end of our dominance, this is just an interruption,” the Austrian concluded.