Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has confirmed that the team have upgrades planned for the next two races in a bid to haul themselves out of the dire position they are currently in.
The arrival of the new technical regulations saw the return of ground effect aerodynamics, and Mercedes have been struggling immensely with “porpoising” as the car bounces off the ground, costing them time on the straights and affecting the handling in the corners.
The upgrade they brought to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix did little to solve the issue, and the bouncing was so severe that Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell found themselves having to lift on the straights to improve visibility and remain in control heading into braking zones and corners.
Russell ended the race in Bologna in fourth position, while Hamilton finished down in 13th after a woeful weekend for the seven-time champion, leaving the Silver Arrows with plenty of work to do if they are to resurrect their title-winning form.
Wolff divulged that an upgrade is on the way this weekend in Miami, and placed more emphasis on the following race in Barcelona after the car appeared to work relatively well in the first pre-season test.
“We’ll try something in Miami and then again in Barcelona,” he stated.
“We had much less bouncing with our presentation model in the winter than the second specification that we then took to Bahrain.
“The data comparison between the two cars should bring us a step further.”
Russell has out-qualified Hamilton twice this year, while finishing ahead of the 37-year-old in each of the last three races, leading former Formula 1 driver Gerhard Berger to anticipate that the form of the younger Briton “will soon get on Lewis’ nerves.”
Wolff vehemently denies such a notion, affirming that his drivers are working as a cohesive unit as they look to get the Brackley squad back to winning ways.
“The cooperation of our drivers is one of the few highlights of this season,” said Wolff. “There is no tension, just productive work,” he explained.
Wolff apologised to Hamilton after the race in Imola due to the 103-time race winner suffering from an “undriveable” car in traffic throughout the afternoon, and the Austrian reiterates that the car is to blame for the results, not the driver.
“This situation is definitely not the fault of the drivers. Lewis is the best driver in the world, he just doesn’t have the car to show that at the moment. And then it doesn’t matter if he finishes eighth or thirteenth,” he said.
“But we’re talking about a seven-time world champion here,” the Austrian added. “I don’t know any of the great drivers who didn’t have a difficult phase. He will help us work our way out of this.”
Hamilton finds himself seventh in the Drivers’ Championship after four races of 2022 having been leapfrogged by Lando Norris, who managed a podium in Italy.