Mercedes chief Toto Wolff has revealed that while the W13 isn’t holding up to the likes of Red Bull and Ferrari so far this 2022 season, they’ve yet to decide that they’re going to move away from the current zero-pod setup.
This innovative idea was revealed during the pre-season testing at Bahrain earlier this year, and while fans were sure this would put Mercedes at the top of the time sheets, it quickly became apparent that this wasn’t the case. Mercedes, like other teams, had major issues with porpoising. And while the Spanish Grand Prix was a breather for both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell as their car seemed to be performing better with less bouncing, the Monaco GP quickly saw it return.
“If you want to change concept you need to understand what’s going to make the new concept faster than the current one,” said Wolff. “And I think if we would have known we would have done it.
“So at the moment we’re still very much in the structure and our organization and trying to bring development and understanding in order to increase the pace of the car.
“At a certain stage if we still do not manage to close that gap I think we need to continue to grind away and then if decisions for next year need to be taken that can’t be changed on the current car – whether it’s architectural or aerodynamically – then yeah these decisions need to happen, but we’re not at that point yet.
“At least we are going to get some more wind tunnel time from the end of June onwards, then we are coming back!”
The Azerbaijan Grand Prix could be yet another difficult race for the team as engineering director Andrew Shovlin admits that Monaco and Baku are two very similar venues in regards to circuit characteristics:
“Certainly, it was a lot harder to get the car to work around Monaco than it was in Barcelona.
“In Barcelona we had shown that we had good race pace, even though we know there is still work to do to close the gap to Red Bull and to Ferrari but the challenge of Monaco is the low speed nature, it’s a very bumpy circuit and we were struggling with the ride of the car.
“That was affecting the confidence of the drivers to carry speed and it just meant that we couldn’t run it as close to optimum as we had been able to do in Spain.
“Baku might present some similar challenges, we are working on areas though to try and improve that ride, try and be able to run the car a bit closer to its optimum window but we are well aware that in addition to adding base performance to the car, we’ve got to make it work over a wider range of circuits.
“So, these are all things that we are busy with in the next week in preparation for Baku but also longer term because there are other challenging tracks that will come up.
“But all of those projects are being worked on really hard because the team and the drivers are desperate to get back to the front.”