Why Mercedes believes it can make the step F1 needs to fight Red Bull
The 2022 Formula 1 season was Mercedes' leanest for a decade, achieving just a solitary pole and grand prix win. Yet the team is confident it has got the tools it needs to cast that disappointment aside and return to the front of the field again next year
The W13 proved unlucky for some, but not in the way Mercedes had hoped. The car chalked a sole pole and grand prix win apiece to represent its builder’s leanest Formula 1 campaign in a decade. For the eight-time constructors’ champion so accustomed to success, its latest embarrassment of riches instead arrived with a litany of performance problems that still weren’t fully resolved come the Abu Dhabi finale. As such, when Lewis Hamilton and George Russell dive into the pits next year, they’ll need to remember to park two garages further down following the Three-Pointed Star’s fall to third in the standings.
This regression coincided with Red Bull rediscovering its double-title-winning form upon the return of ground-effects to F1. While Adrian Newey and his design department must contend with a 25% slash in windtunnel time (the ‘reward’ for claiming the crown plus the punishment for breaching the 2021 cost cap) over the coming 12 months, the seismic rule change with the potential to reset the competitive order has been and gone. During the next few seasons of comparative aerodynamic stability, there’s good reason to expect Red Bull to build on its recent 17-race-winning pomp.
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