The Mercedes F1 Team’s hunt to end their victory drought may finally come to an end this weekend at the French Grand Prix, with many predicting the Silver Arrows to be favourites at the Circuit Paul Ricard.
It’s been a troublesome first-half of the season for Mercedes, who have taken nearly half a year to get on top of their porpoising problems, something which has seen their performance plummet.
The eight-time defending Constructors’ Champions have a mountain to climb if they want to retain their crown, with the German side currently third in the standings and 122-points behind Red Bull Racing.
Despite this, the gap is bridgeable.
Mercedes have had the best reliability out of any team so far this year, whereas Ferrari and Red Bull have lost valuable points due to reliability-based retirements.
The team’s only retirement came at the British Grand Prix, where George Russell was caught up in the opening corner crash which saw Guanyu Zhou barrel-roll across the gravel trap.
The W13 is clearly getting closer to Ferrari and Red Bull, though, with Sir Lewis Hamilton having finished third-place at the last three races.
Mercedes have still found themselves a few tenths behind their rivals, with team principal Toto Wolff admitting that they haven’t been “quick enough” to challenge for victories.
With this in mind, Mercedes are bringing yet more upgrades to this weekend’s race, in a bid to close the gap.
“While we were quicker in Austria, we still weren’t quick enough to challenge at the front,” said the Mercedes boss.
“We need to keep chasing those final few tenths and bringing new developments to the cars, including this weekend in France.”
The W13 has performed better as of late, mainly due to both Silverstone and the Red Bull Ring having smoother surfaces than most of the races to have already taken place this year.
It’s for this reason that many, including, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, think Mercedes will be at the front this weekend, with Circuit Paul Ricard having the smoothest surface of virtually any circuit in the world.
Wolff is hopeful the smooth surface will help the team “make further inroads” to the leading sides, with a podium at the very least being the target for the weekend.
“Paul Ricard is a very different track and challenge,” added Wolff.
“It has smooth tarmac and a wide range of corner types, along with long straights.
“The aim will be to make further inroads on the gap to the front and hopefully be back on the podium.”