Despite showing serious performance during the Spanish Grand Prix, chief strategist of Mercedes, James Vowles, has admitted that “it would be wrong to say the porpoising issue has disappeared”.
Mercedes has been struggling with porpoising issues for the majority of the 2022 F1 season, but the symptoms of the W13’s porpoising seemed to be fading as the Spanish GP weekend began. This led to surprising pace from both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, finishing 5th and 3rd respectively. This has resulted in the team yet again setting their sites on a title for this year, but Vowles doesn’t think they should be too confident just yet.
“We’ve had one race out of six where the car has been well behaved,” he said in the YouTube video below:
“It was a car that really was a proper racing car for once. We could set it up, we could tune it, we could play around with the settings and it would respond in a way that was predictable, and the same couldn’t be said for the car we had for the first five races of the season.
“However, we have to temper our expectations. It’s one track, and a track that has suited our car for many years prior to this one. There is a lot for us to understand and learn.”
He admitted that the porpoising may return to Mercedes, just like it could return to other teams on the grid, too.
“I think it would be wrong to say the porpoising issue has disappeared,” he admitted. “I think you still see it on our competitors and I’m sure there will be elements of it coming back again as we build on our understanding and the foundations we laid down in Barcelona.
“What I can say is we made a definitive step, a step in our understanding and the deployment of what we put on track. And we can build on that, and the same could not be said about the first five races with the car we had there.
“We will move forward from where we are now but it will be a journey, it won’t happen overnight. And we’ve got difficult tracks coming up, we’ve got Monaco and Baku which will throw up their own challenges and surprises. The difference now, though, is we have a car that’s within touching distance of the front and a car we can fight for a championship with.”
Wolff shares this excitement, admitting after the race that he bets they can fight for the World Championship:
“I’ve seen a race car today that reminded me of the race cars of previous seasons, when you are 30+ seconds behind the whole field and you come all the way to the front and near the podium,” Wolff told media, quoted by Motorsport.com.
“That’s very encouraging and shows we have made another step.
“Can we fight for the World Championship? We bet we can. But we just need to have a car that is able to finish first and second. And I think we have reasons to believe we can get there.”