Wolff warns there’s no ‘magic fix’ as Mercedes delay key upgrade

Mercedes have made a dire start to the 2022 season after struggling to adapt to the new technical regulations.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff affirms that all hands are on deck as his team try to resolve the issues that have been hindering them in the early part of the 2022 season.

Ground effect aerodynamics made a return under new technical regulations this year, leaving the cars running significantly lower to the ground than before.

As a legacy of that, the Mercedes car has been bouncing off the asphalt, detracting from performance on the straight and causing lock-ups in the corners.

Attempts to eradicate the issue have included raising the ride height of the car, but this has only harmed the downforce of the car in the corners.

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The Brackley squad had a lesser power deficit to Honda power in Jeddah than Ferrari, but as George Russell finished fifth in Saudi Arabia – half a minute behind race winner Max Verstappen – Wolff insists that his team have a lot of erudition to absorb as they try to figure out how to improve their performance.

“We are in a learning race and the first two weekends have shown we still have plenty to learn,” he said in Mercedes’ preview of the Australian Grand Prix this weekend.

“At the moment, our track performance is not meeting our own expectations, but everyone at Brackley and Brixworth is focused on understanding the problems and finding the right solutions.

“There won’t be a magic fix for the next race weekend, but we’re pushing to steadily bring gains over the up-coming races, to hopefully move us closer to the front of the pack. Until then, we need to maximise each opportunity and make the most of the package we have.

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“So, there are various challenges ahead of us, but that’s something we relish and is when a team really shows its true spirit.”

Former Formula 1 driver David Coulthard has recently asserted that Hamilton and Russell need to be “the voice” that steers the Mercedes mechanics and engineers in the right direction, and Wolff reiterates that this is very much a collective effort to get back on the right track.

“Lewis and George are making an important contribution to the overall effort, providing feedback, spending time in the simulator and working together to help push us forward,” he said.

F1 travels to Melbourne for the first time since 2020 when the event was cancelled hours before the first practice session was due to get underway due to COVID-19.

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Three years after the last race in Melbourne, Wolff is excited to once again feel the vibrance of the Albert Park paddock.

“Now we head back to Melbourne for the first time since 2020 and will be racing in Australia for the first time in three years – that’s too long for a city and country that are so passionate about F1,” he said.

The circuit has been radically altered since the pinnacle of motorsport’s last race in Melbourne since 2019, with a litany of changes introduced – including four DRS zones – to help improve overtaking.

“We’re looking forward to seeing the fans and the new track layout which promises more overtaking opportunities and faster lap times,” Wolff added.

Mercedes were reported to be bringing a new rear wing to this weekend’s race, but early signs suggest that they will hold off on this until the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in two weeks.