Mercedes have solved their biggest issue with F1’s new generation

Mercedes have two updates planned before Formula 1's summer break

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Toto Wolff is confident Mercedes have finally solved an issue that’s plagued them since the start of Formula 1‘s new era in 2022 and has caused them to fall to scrapping for the podium places.

Mercedes‘ simulations for both new-generation cars fell well short of their on-track performance, after they won 15 championships in eight years under the previous regulations from 2014.

However, with Mercedes expecting two upgrade packages to come before the summer break, they’re confident they’ve broken their biggest barrier to those being successful.

“I think we’re better understanding better simulations, how it correlates to what we’re seeing on track,” Wolff told the media. “And that’s been our problem over the last one and a half years.

“We’re seeing good performance gains that are coming in the wind tunnel. We’re seeing a better understanding of what the car needs in order to go fast, what the setups need to look like. The steps are getting bigger now, I think we’re making good inroads.”

How big a problem has this been to Mercedes?

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell hugging after the Sprint Race at the 2022 Brazilian Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton and George Russell after F1 Sprint Race at the 2022 Brazilian GP | Mercedes F1 Team

It’s no secret that porpoising blindsided most of the F1 grid in 2022, and none more so than Mercedes.

They turned up in Bahrain confident in their no-sidepods concept that looked like it was set to revolutionise F1 but their season turned out to be anything but that.

Their famed ‘chart of doom’ forecast where Mercedes would particularly struggle even as they slowly got to grips with porpoising on the car and the team finished almost 250 points behind Red Bull in the constructors’ championship.

Even ahead the Sao Paulo Grand Prix – their one triumph of the year – Hamilton predicted it would be an uphill battle to take victory.

“Out of the next two races, this is the best option we’ll have, the closest I think we’ll be,” Hamilton told the media ahead of that race. “I think those long straights will be tough.

“Every time we arrive at a track we’re surprised one way or the other, how big the gap is or how close we are. So I won’t know till tomorrow where that is, I don’t know if the car will be spectacular here.

“I don’t know if we will be as close as we were last race, I don’t think we will but I hope we’re surprised and it’s not the case.

“But we know where our car is going to work and what corners it won’t work. And so I anticipate it’s not going to be the easiest on track.”

And after committing to their entire offseason to continuing the no-sidepods concept in 2023, they’d abandoned it after just one qualifying session in Bahrain.

Again, George Russell told reporters in testing that he could see no reason Mercedes wouldn’t fight for the title, optimism that had evaporated before the lights had even gone out on the season curtain-raiser.

However, with a very successful Monaco upgrade package now on the car, Mercedes finally seem to be heading in the right direction.

With 25% more wind tunnel time than Red Bull in 2023, it’s a vital step for the team as they aim to return to the championship fight next season.

Where is the next F1 2023 race?

The next F1 race is the 2023 Austrian Grand Prix which will be second sprint weekend of the year, held at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg on June 30 to July 2.

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, and previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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