The 2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix highlighted just how far off the pace the Mercedes Formula 1 team are at the moment. While George Russell was able to claim another top-five finish, the team’s lead driver Lewis Hamilton struggled to get past the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly, limping home to a disappointing 13th place finish.
Mercedes’ issues were compounded by the fact that Red Bull romped to a one-two finish with race winner Max Verstappen actually lapping Hamilton in the process. As grim as the situation is in Brackley, Mercedes‘ trackside engineering director, Andrew Shovlin believes the latest updates to the W13 could see the team make progress at the inaugural Miami Grand Prix.
Miami could be the team’s litmus test
Speaking on the team’s YouTube channel Shovlin stated that the incoming upgrades could determine if the team were moving in the right direction, with the updates set to target the team’s issues with the W13.
“Hopefully soon, maybe as soon as Miami, we can start to bring some parts to the car that will hopefully give us an indication on whether we are moving in the right direction,” Shovlin explained.
“We are not expecting to solve this overnight, but if we can get a clue that we are going in the right direction, that we really got to the bottom of what is going on, then we will be quite pleased that we are just moving on the right path.
“It’s obviously a bit of a cliche, but the reality is that we can’t run the car where we designed it to run. We’re having to run it at higher ride heights and by running higher ride heights, it’s got less performance. Now, that might be true for almost every car on the grid, lots of people are suffering with this problem and we know that lifting the car is a way of alleviating it.
“A lot of the work that’s gone on in Brackley, has been to understand the phenomenon and whether we can control it, whether we can engineer it out of the car. When Toto [Wolff] talks about finding the key, what he’s really talking about is, is there an aerodynamic solution that we can apply to this solution that will make this problem go away?
“Now, realistically, we think this will be something we approach in steps, rather than one big moment where the whole thing vanishes.”
Will the upgrades work?
Whether Mercedes can salvage their season will be contingent upon on quickly they can resolve their proposing issues.
The Brackley-based team are one of the big losers in the reshuffling of the race order brought on by the 2022 rule changes, and if the updates don’t bring them closer to the lead pair of Red Bull and Ferrari, they would perhaps be better off cutting their loses and channeling their efforts on the 2023 Formula 1 season instead.