close global

Welcome to GPFans


  • NL
  • GB
  • ES-MX
  • GB
What Mercedes can do to ensure 2023 renaissance

What Mercedes can do to ensure 2023 renaissance

F1 News

What Mercedes can do to ensure 2023 renaissance

What Mercedes can do to ensure 2023 renaissance
Jack Walker

The 2022 F1 season saw Mercedes endure their worst year since 2011, finishing third in the constructors’ championship with only one win to their name.

The Silver Arrows have always been strong in Brazil, and the 1-2 finish at Interlagos was a rare moment of success in a year that saw George Russell and Sir Lewis Hamilton finish 5th and 6th in the drivers’ standings.

Despite ending the year strongly, 2022 was awash with problems. Team principal Toto Wolff said the initial focus was to work on getting the car as low to the ground, something his team struggled to do more than their rivals and their inability to deal with porpoising cast the dice in terms of the team having any hopes of challenging Red Bull and Ferrari consistently.

The 'zero-sidepods' concept

Having dominated the turbo-hybrid era by winning an unprecedented eight consecutive constructors’ titles, the biggest regulation overhaul in a generation caught Mercedes out and their ‘zero-sidepod’ methodology simply did not deliver the results predicted in the simulator.

Technical director Mike Elliott has previously shared his “surprise” that no other team found the loophole in the new F1 regulations that allowed the zero-sidepod concept to be used.

George Russell stands atop the podium after his win in Brazil

Given that Red Bull and Ferrari both use sidepods on their cars, you would expect Mercedes to seriously consider changing their approach, but Elliott still believes their unique approach can bring success.

“Through the normal development we did over the winter, it [the car’s performance] felt good. To then roll into winter testing and find some pretty major problems with the car was pretty dispiriting,” said Elliott in Mercedes’ official 2022 season review.

“This is the first season in a long time that we started with a problem we didn’t predict, but what has pleased me is the team’s response to that. The way we’ve stuck together and the progress with made is what I’m pleased with. We only learn how good a team we were in difficult moments. When we got to Austin, we finally put ourselves in a good position and one that is promising for the future.”

Reliability is key

Mercedes only suffered from one DNF caused by a mechanical failure in the whole of last season, that coming in the closing laps on Hamilton’s car in Abu Dhabi, which was a much better record than their rivals.

Red Bull suffered five DNFs last season, two coming at the curtain-raiser in Bahrain and Sergio Perez retiring early three races in a row later in the campaign, and Ferrari struggled with reliability so much they had to dial down their engine performance to get to the chequered flag numerous times.

This is an area where the team from Brackley must look to make gains. Hwyel Thomas, Mercedes’ HPP Managing Director, was encouraged by improved power unit performance at the tail end of 2022, and is expecting this to continue into 2023.

Lewis Hamilton will be hoping for an improvement in his performances this year

“The excitement of the season was seeing how we could develop the PU, even though the hardware is frozen, to get more performance," said Thomas.

“What’s becoming clearer and clearer is the link between the power unit and the chassis. You can’t develop them separately now. Especially in the second of half of the season, that’s where the gains were coming. That’s great for the future as well.”

Impressive performances in Barcelona, Hungary, and Brazil – to name a few – helped the team achieve 17 podium finishes, showing that the W13 had real raw pace when operating in its ‘sweet spot’. If Mercedes have found a way to consistently find that perfect setting through the offseason, then the W14 could have real potential to be a challenger. Reports already emerging that there have been no signs of porpoising throughout development.

There are a lot of variables and uncertainties but, as Niki Lauda once said, you learn a lot more from failure than you do from success.

READ MORE: Lewis Hamilton's decade with Mercedes - RANKED

Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Ontdek het op Google Play