Wolff has ‘no doubt’ 2022 Mercedes will allow Hamilton and Russell to fight Red Bull and Ferrari

The majority of the teams have been struggling to make the weight limit under the new technical regulations.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff concedes that his team are struggling to get to grips with the new technical regulations, but has no uncertainty in that the Silver Arrows can fight for victories in the not-too-distant future.

Mercedes spent much of winter testing expressing concerns about their performance, persistently painting Ferrari as the favourites, with Sir Lewis Hamilton even suggesting that McLaren might have superseded the constructors’ champions.

While their situation is not quite as dire as he and George Russell initially made out, there appeared to be a substantial disparity to Ferrari and Red Bull as the season-opening 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix last weekend as Hamilton qualified fifth, with his compatriot ninth.

READ: ‘We couldn’t live with that’: Horner explains why Leclerc was able to keep Verstappen at bay in Bahrain

They recovered to take a podium through the seven-time world champion as Red Bull suffered late reliability issues for both Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

But this did little to cover over the conspicuous performance issues the Brackley squad are facing as Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz scored a one-two in Sakhir.

One of those difficulties has arrived in the form of “porpoising.”

The low ride height of the cars owing to the new technical regulations means that the Mercedes car in particular has been seen violently bouncing off the ground down the straights, and the fact that Wolff reckons his team have one of the heaviest cars will likely not be helping.

“Where we stand is that, if I make a best case, then probably Red Bull [and] ourselves are, from the top 10 cars, the most overweight,” Wolff told RacingNews365.com.

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“Then there are some who are underweight, or just above it. That’s quite a lap time advantage, or disadvantage, but [we can] be clever about it.

“Some have taken the decision to go live and are benefitting from that at the moment. I think there’s, for us, definitely room to improve, and to chip away some of the bits that we have on the car that are too heavy.”

The budget cap has been reduced by a further $5 million this year compared to last, but given that every team is working under the same financial restrictions, the Austrian does not see why this should adversely affect his team.

“In a competition with Red Bull and Ferrari, it has no relevance,” he explained.

“We were always in the same league of spending and, in the same way, we are in the same league of spending now.

“There will be diminishing returns over the medium- to long-term. The field is going to become even closer in terms of lap time differentiation.

“I’ve no doubt that, when we unlock the potential that’s in the car, we will be playing with the guys in front.”

READ: Russell worried by Haas ‘pace advantage’, expecting ‘lonely’ racing with Hamilton

McLaren’s Lando Norris and Aston Martin’s Nico Hulkenberg both noted after the race in Sakhir that they felt a power deficit in the Mercedes engine compared to other manufacturers, but Russell pointed to numerous factors – including the chassis – that are contributing to the struggles of Mercedes and their customer teams.