Mercedes admits it was ‘overly optimistic’ with the 2022 F1 car

Lewis Hamilton driving George Russell

Mercedes admitted it was “overly optimistic” in the approach it took with its all-new Formula 1 car to change the 2022 slate.

New rules introduced last year have left the once-dominant team without a race win so far as it works to understand a troublesome car.

W13 suffered badly from porpoises early in the season.

He also introduced a number of new philosophies including the concept of “zeropod” – extreme low-profile sidepods.

These developments further complicated the problems Mercedes had, with the unsupported floor flexing, contributing to an experienced W13 ridden.

“All this learning is very valuable, and we would like to keep that within the team,” Andrew Shovlin, Mercedes Trackside Engineering Director, said of the key lessons learned from the current car.

“It was a very interesting ride. I think we were overly optimistic about where we thought we could run the car.

“The car we launched had a lot of downforce very close to the ground, and there were a lot of issues being able to actually get the car on the track there.

“It’s no secret that people try to get their cars off the road, to try and get them better able to handle the bumps, and then to avoid hitting the ground where you lose a lot of your grip once everything goes through the plank.

“But just looking at how the car is balanced by the speed range, across the different phases of the corner, in general, we haven’t had enough performance on it,” he added.

“It’s not just that the compressive strength was in the wrong area, we’re lagging behind.

“So there are a lot of areas we’ve been working on.

“The focus for this year changed relatively early to a year to learn, making sure we can get back into a competitive position next year.

“The signs we’ve seen over the last six or seven races have been encouraging.

“We are not where we would like to be, but the direction of travel looks good. So we are working hard to try to improve that.”

With the exception of the Belgian Grand Prix, Mercedes has had either George Russell, Lewis Hamilton or both on the podium at every race since Monaco and has finished second three times out of the last six events.

Despite its lack of success in recent years, the consistency of its results shows a sophisticated understanding of the issues that trouble W13.

“The spa was so much fun,” Shovlin added.

“It was very painful at the time, but we have often said that our worst weekends are the ones that reward us with the most learning.

“It definitely focuses your attention, and when you see those performance fluctuations of lane tracking, you can start to see the corners you lose even with GPS, the speed range, you can start to understand how your car works — you can get some insight into how it works. Competitors’ cars.

“The learning we have learned from that gives us an indication of where we need to develop the car in the future.

“Zandvoort, we were expecting to be more competitive, so it was reassuring that that happened.

“The [underlying] The problem is kind of rooted in how we developed the car and how it works as an aerodynamic package.”

The Brackley-based team is currently second in the constructors’ championship, 35 times behind second-placed Ferrari with six rounds remaining.

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