Mercedes still does not understand all the quirks of W13 F1 car

Mercedes has admitted that it still does not understand all of the quirks that made its W13 such a tricky Formula 1 car in 2022.

Mercedes still does not understand all the quirks of W13 F1 car

The German manufacturer is coming off the back of a challenging campaign where it struggled to get on top of the new-rules era, losing out to rivals Red Bull and Ferrari.

Its new W13 car struggled badly with porpoising early on and, despite some good progress over the year that allowed George Russell to lead a Mercedes 1-2 in Brazil, still ended the campaign with a performance deficit to the front as Mercedes fell to third in the constructors' championship.

But while the team says the year has delivered valuable lessons in helping it understand how best to approach the new ground effect regulations, it is not pretending it fully understands all that went wrong this year.

Asked if the team got a total grip on the car, which means next year's W14 will have banished all the weaknesses, Mercedes chief strategist James Vowles said in the squad's regular post-race videos: "I don't think you can truly now, or even across the winter, state that we know everything about the W13.

PLUS: Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

"There have been some ups and downs, very much so, and that's the part of what I meant by this car has items that we believe we understand and some of them that still not fully explained as a result of that.

"But if you look at the direction moving forward, the gaps to the front, especially on race pace, we made huge amounts of progress and you only do that by understanding where your problems are, working on them and working as a team."

Mercedes looks set to shift the concept of its car for next season.

The W13 is believed to have suffered a lot because its peak performance could only be produced when running very low to the ground, which then exposed it to worse porpoising and bouncing.

The change of approach could pay dividends, but Mercedes is still mindful that there remained a big performance gap in Abu Dhabi last weekend between itself and Red Bull, which Lewis Hamilton said summed up the struggles of the year.

George Russell, Mercedes W13

George Russell, Mercedes W13

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

"The confidence we have is that we now have our tools, our windtunnel tools, our development tools, our performance tools here in the organisation producing performance which is more than our competitors, and it's allowing us to move further forward relative to them," Vowles said.

"There is still a void though and Abu Dhabi really showed that. That has to be caught up across the winter and I think we have a very good process and system in place to do that.

"That development that you saw across the season will continue across the winter and I think we will be in a very strong place next year."

Vowles does think that the Mercedes team is ending the year stronger as an organisation, as a result of its need to come together to sort out its mistakes.

"We are a team that is used to success, used to winning, used to being at the front and we weren't," he said. "And that really has changed the organisation for the positive.

Read Also:

"We are much better as a result of this and that's the characters that have built and we have built ourselves as a result of that.

"It's been challenging, there is no question about it. We were not in a position we were used to being in and you have to make sure that as a result of that you adapt to move forward - and we have.

"I think we proved compared to the beginning of the season relative to the end how much we moved forward."

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

He added: "This team had to pull closer together than ever before. It's very easy in these circumstances, in these difficult times to pull apart and we didn't.

"The drivers pulled together, and I am confident we have the best driver line-up on the grid. We have two incredible drivers pushing each other but working as a team to make the car better.

"We have a team both in Brixworth and in Brackley, and at the track as well, all working together with just one goal in mind and that is not to win anymore necessarily. It is to make sure that we understand the package we have, so that we are back to our winning ways next year."

shares
comments

Related video

Horner: Red Bull’s F1 success in 2022 "hurts our opponents"
Previous article

Horner: Red Bull’s F1 success in 2022 "hurts our opponents"

Next article

Wolff: Mercedes can avoid F1’s spiral of decline precedent

Wolff: Mercedes can avoid F1’s spiral of decline precedent
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Plus

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star Plus

The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s team-mate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy Plus

How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Plus

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Plus

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Plus

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
How Verstappen's record-breaking 2022 season compares to the F1 greats Plus

How Verstappen's record-breaking 2022 season compares to the F1 greats

The 2022 Formula 1 season will be remembered as a record book rewriting Max Verstappen masterclass, a completely different challenge to his maiden world championship last year, and a clear sign he is still raising his own level. But where does it stack up against the all-time great F1 campaigns?

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2022 Formula 1 season came to a close at the Yas Marina Circuit, where the battle for second in the standings was decided, the wins in a season record extended and a retiring four-time world champion bowed out on a high. Here's how we rated the drivers

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2022