George Russell, Mercedes, Imola, 2022

Too soon for Mercedes to “cut our losses” with problematic 2022 car – Wolff

2022 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Mercedes aren’t about to give up on their chosen design direction with their 2022 car despite their poor start to the season, says team principal Toto Wolff.

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton were eliminated in Q2 on Friday and finished yesterday’s sprint race outside of the top 10. Their porpoising problems have been especially acute at Imola.

Wolff said the team’s attention is focused on the floor of their car which they believe is the cause of their trouble. “I think all of the goodness and badness happens mainly on the floor as it stands at the moment

“We have interesting ideas and concepts that we are exploring that have to find its way onto the car in the next few races.”

However he is wary of over-reacting to the problems they face. “I wouldn’t say there is no such thing as a concept being wrong. But is there a part of what we have done that just simply doesn’t work with the regulations, and what is it?

“You don’t need to throw away the goodness, you can keep the goodness, but if there are fundamental areas that don’t allow us to unlock the potential that we believe is in the car, then obviously you need to cut your losses.”

He said it is too soon for the team to judge whether it needs to take that drastic step as it does not yet fully understand the problem it has.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Imola, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Emilia-Romagna sprint race in pictures
“Cutting the losses is quite defined: you cut the losses,” Wolff said. “Because it would mean that you say, ‘okay, where’s the baseline now? Is there a new baseline where we can start upon where we believe that we can unlock more potential?’ Well, if we would have thought that, we would have done it five months ago.

“We believe that this is the development direction that we need to take. So it’s quite a tricky exercise to do. Before we take such a decision, we need to really continue in the science and continue in finding out what it is, because only then you can actually say, ‘okay, cut the losses, switch to next year’.”

The team can only do that “if you understand where you got it wrong,” said Wolff, “and at the moment, we simply don’t. Not yet.”

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Keith Collantine
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23 comments on “Too soon for Mercedes to “cut our losses” with problematic 2022 car – Wolff”

  1. But maybe they should already define a clear number 1 to keep their WDC aspirations alive as long as possible.

    1. What, to decide who comes in 8th or 12th?

    2. They already have one

      1. The hate on Ham is wierd Russel seems to have measure of him over a lap but as there been a race Ham as been slower look at Jeddah his worst weekend Ham was losing like a tenth on 20 lap plus older tyres. When Bottas is beating Ham and a awful qualifyer like Perez you know his cars bad. Ham was doing this 2 Alo in qually his rookie year. Also it is what 2/2 in qually and Ham should be 2 1 in races.

        This against someone who made Lando look silly in f2. Russel is used to a bad car Ham aint had one for years. Ham is older now aswell. So yeah pump the breaks least he aint trundling around 1 or 2 tenths quicker than someone who made Massa look great and could not even outperform Sirotkin. So yeah its wierd tbh Ham clearly a much better racer now tbh he has for years.

        1. Due to his greater experiance Hamilton is now the official Mercedes Tester. This will continue until they find a solution or abandon any further improvements to the car, at which point the cars might setup equally.

          Presently Hamilton and co are driving unsafe cars. They only have to drive too fast into a high speed corner and with the downforce suddenly cutting out, to replicate the accidents from the previous era when ground effect was used.

          1. Where was it mentioned that Lewis is the official test driver?

      2. There is only one team who has a clear wingman driver.

    3. How will that work with both cars set up differently to act as test beds? They are basically sending out cars with different set ups in every session. Different wings this weekend, different tyre pressures, different ways to warm up the tyres, extra sensors. They don’t know waht direction to go in yet.

    4. u mean like RB? Thats not Merc philosophy

    5. WDC aspirations lol

  2. I get their reasoning about not throwing away a design that does seem to offer more downforce potential. What I don’t get is their timeline for implementing new component to the floor, suspension (?) or whatever to lessen the purpoising effect. Nothing seems to be happening, basically. And the drivers, well Hamilton especially, seem to be thinking the same.

    1. To me it looks like they have, as usual, left a lot of development for as late as possible, sacrificing the earlier part of the season for the next 15-20 races. They have reportedly the most weight to shed of rb and ferrari and they have yet to introduce their full 2022 PU spec. I can easily see them get 1.5 s though I see RB with room for improvement too.

      1. @peartree That makes some sense.

  3. I think if they don’t cut their losses then they are screwed for next year too. The frontrunners will have superior cars to begin with along with a season of understanding a settled car and making it faster. I think Mercedes are going to have a taste of what it was like for everyone else when they began a regulation change with a clear advantage and the rest had an uphill battle for years to catch up.

    1. Actually if they do poorly this season they’ll have more wind tunnel testing time over the championship winners. Although what they really need is more track testing time, since wind tunnel testing can’t quite simulate actual race conditions.

      I wonder why that rule on wind tunnel testing time wasn’t waved for the first year with this new design? Given they were all starting from the same place, it seemed mean to say because they won with the previous design, they still had an advantage over their rivals.

  4. I think part of the issue is that it looks like they have done some fancy reorganisation of the PU cooling to achieve this design (their PU is not the class of the field any more).

    With the PU freeze coming up they may be forced to stick with what they have and hope they can release the potential shown in the design process, otherwise they could have a suboptimal PU without any of the supposed upside.

    1. Yeah Mercedes have some new heat exchange cooling solution, which is how they can have that narrow profile. The trouble is its seems to be heavier, so what should have been a potential stright line speed advantage, comes with this penalty of an heavier car, possibly compromising tire performance as well as adding extra loads on the brakes. there is so much difference over the last design, that the drivers are also having to adapt their driving styles.

  5. BLS (@brightlampshade)
    24th April 2022, 13:01

    I hope Mercedes come good, to have 3 teams all with a good chance of winning would be a dream. Been a long time since we’ve had a scenario like that.

    1. Mclaren is doing pretty well, they could be the ones if they improve a little.

  6. MB (@muralibhats)
    24th April 2022, 14:00

    Irony is lost in them. Hames Allison said there will be one team at-least who will get the car implemented wrongly.

    1. True, I remember that comment.

    2. How is the irony lost on them? All they’ve done is prove Allison right.

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