George Russell, Mercedes, Imola, 2022

Mercedes “found several directions for improving the car” – Wolff

2022 Miami Grand Prix

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Mercedes have formed a plan of action to improve their problematic W13 chassis and will bring updates over the coming races, team principal Toto Wolff has confirmed.

The team intends to use this weekend’s Miami Grand Prix to verify their conclusions about the car, which has lagged up to one second per lap off its rivals in the opening races.

The W13 has been severely afflicted by the phenomenon of porpoising. Others have suffered the same problem but some of those, such as Ferrari, have been able to prevent it from seriously compromising the performance of their cars.

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton finished fourth and 13th in the last race at Imola. Both drivers have been at work in the simulator since then to assist their development push.

“It was a very difficult weekend for us in Imola,” said Wolff. “George did a great job to finish P4 from an unpromising starting position but with Lewis, we didn’t give him the tools or track position to show his true pace.

“Since we returned from Italy, we’ve learned as much from the weekend as we can and, in parallel, our learning has continued in the wind tunnel and simulations. We have found several directions for improving the car, and we will be conducting experiments in Miami to correlate those simulations, and hopefully confirm the development path for the coming races.

“Both drivers have been working in the simulator ahead of Miami and the factories have been busy producing updates for the next races.”

The team will conduct its latest experiments on its car on a track which is unfamiliar to the entire field.

“Miami is an exciting new challenge and a complete step into the unknown,” said Wolff. “The track looks demanding, with a real mix of low and high-speed corners, and it’s set to be a spectacular showcase for the sport to our growing US fanbase. We’re set for a fantastic event, and we can’t wait to see how it all plays out.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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52 comments on “Mercedes “found several directions for improving the car” – Wolff”

  1. I’ve enjoyed the season so far, the standings being tossed up a little has been good. I suspect by the end of the season, Mercedes will be in the discussion for 1st or 2nd in the 2 championships.

    1. Mark (@blueruck)is right, an interesting season so far.
      Likely more surprises from the midfield coming too. Will be fun for us.
      Doesn’t look like much fun in the Mercedes Garage though. The new chief PR and Team Spokesperson, T. Wolff, is certainly putting in the overtime ensuring lots of “spin” on every topic that can be pitched his way, and more.
      It will be interesting to see if Mercedes can make real progress in the next few races. It certainly looks like they’re fumbling in the dark.
      No doubt they will be back at the front at some point, but it isn’t looking like any time soon.
      Sunday will provide some answers.

      1. Of course one never knows and I will always leave something in reserve that Mercedes’ could pull a rabbit out of a hat, but it really just seems too unlikely this season, especially for being in the discussion of first or second in both Championships, given the strength of Ferrari and RBR. They’d have to be pretty close to being much much more competitive starting this weekend, and it sounds like they need way more time than that. They’ll try some things but those won’t carry a guarantee of working, or at least of putting them where they need.

          1. @robbie if only there was some sort of edit button…

        1. You have to think about the dnf’s rbr though too been not good for them this year and for max

      2. ThreePurpleSectors (@)
        3rd May 2022, 21:51

        @rekibsn, The only saving grace of the season so far is the Merc struggles. We have a run away WDC leader in Leclerc. Replace Ferrari with Merc and everyone would crying the season is ruined and over 2 rounds ago. Replace Leclerc with Ham and Sainz w/ Bottas and guarantee you would all be singinging a different tune. But Merc is out of the running so all is good.

        1. Except Red Bull are taking the challenge to Ferrari and have looked close albeit plagued by technical failures. So there is competition, and perhaps that is way better than 6 years of zero competition for either championship. Nothing to do with hatred of Merc or its driver…s

          1. ThreePurpleSectors (@)
            4th May 2022, 22:34

            @Mog, what is with you guys and reality? You think if you repeat something enough it becomes true? 2021 went to the final round. 2016, 2017 and 2018 dind’t happen? Spare us the revionist history.

    2. The Dolphins
      3rd May 2022, 20:48

      @blueruck keeping in mind that all teams will be bringing updates throughout the year and that Mercedes currently stand 3rd in the Constructors and 4th (George) in the Drivers Championships I’d say it would be quite the Cinderella story for them to battle for 1st or 2nd in the two championships. Even if their cars suddenly start winning races the points advantage Ferrari currently have will take a while to erode.

      1. With 19 races to go, here are the maximum points still available:
        817: without the fastest lap (FL)
        836: with the FL
        866: with FL plus 2 sprint weekends.
        Before Imola, a lot of people were either writing off RBR and/or saying Ferrari is/will run away with it but within just 1 race weekend, the situation is completely different.
        Last year, after the USA and Mexico races, a LOT of people said it was done; that RBR/Max just need to win one of the 4 remaining races and we all know what happened.
        In other words, the championship positions (both drivers’ and constructors’) in F1 can change very quickly; it would be unwise to write off the Mercs this early in the season!

        1. Not really a good comparison imo. RBR was fast in the first races, just not reliable. It always looked like they were serious contenders that would be able to bring it to Ferrari.

          In 2021, Mercedes was never far off and especially from Silverstone onwards they were on top for most of the races.

          In 2022, Mercedes are a LONG way off. That car just isn’t in the same league as the leading duo and they’re not going to be on equal footing in 2-3 races time. This will take time and when, IF, they get on equal footing that gap is going to be big.

          1. Maybe you are right. I believe the Mercs have simply been wrong-footed by the porpoising. As they keep on saying, they are running the car outside the set-up/ride height it was designed to run in. Meaning the car is not a fundamentally bad one. However what you and I don’t know is how they are going to dial out the porpoising without compromising the car’s original potential. One thing we need to remember of the Mercs; they tend design cars ‘against’ the ongoing trend, and sometimes it gives them headaches but once they sort it out, they become unbeatable. For many seasons, they were the only team running long-base, low rake cars and for some years they suffered in low speed corners and low speed circuits but they eventually sorted it out and became unbeatable until last year.
            Anyway, no need to speculate; we will know in the next 3 races!

    3. Agreed, we should enjoy the variety while it lasts! Merc have too many quality engineers to be floundering for long.

    4. Let us hope their fundamental design is so far ahead of the field that when they solve the porposing, and then benifit from ground effect, they’ll become that serious threat.

      I imagine in the years to come, others will be looking again at the Mercedes slim pods with their own variations. That’s allowing for the heating solution which under pins that design.

      For now it looks like the Mercedes drivers, Hamilton in particular will still be called on to the weekend practices to test more theories. Its worst now they are on a new track with no precedence. Ofcourse the simulators wont porpoising in its simulation.

  2. I’ll say this for them, with as bad as their porpoising issues have been I have been impressed that the mechanical systems haven’t exploded given the sheer violence they have been subjected to lap after lap, race after race. They seem pretty bullet-proof. If they can get the aero sorted out they could be back in the game.

    1. Wondering if we will see a similar situation to Raikkonen in 2005 Euro GP.
      If and when that happens, it will trigger all manner of commentary.

  3. Merc found several directions? That does not sound good.
    Merc only need to go in one direction, forward.
    Hire me.

    1. 1. Suspension kinematics: tire warm up time indicates something’s missing. On the other hand performance on low fuel is horrible. In Melbourne car wasn’t responding to setup changes which is another strong indication of suspension kinematics problem.
      2. Porpoising: the only team carrying the oscillations into the corners. Problem is obviously of aerodynamic nature enhanced by the roll characteristic. Again, suspension kinematics.
      When it comes to porpoising the logic is simple, to paraphrase Adrian Newey: ‘You should never allow the car to be ‘sucked’ strongly to the ground, if so bouncing starts…’
      If they needed so much time to figure it out then they’re in bigger problems than it appears. And I mentioned only two directions, what about PU!?

      1. PU is homologated until 2026, barring energy store changes that will take effect in mid summer.

    2. And you just demonstrated why they shouldn’t.

      A multi-pronged approach to a problem has always been a core tenet of the modern Mercedes F1 team.

      The basic problem is the porpoising– which is being caused by too much downforce, and not enough suspension. Between those two problems, the tires aren’t being consistently loaded, and getting heat into them is very difficult.

      Miami should help– it’s not going to be a chilly weekend. Temps expected in the low 30’s (Around 90F), unless it rains Sunday.

  4. Sounds like they may have found that missing sandbag up the back of the car:)

    1. Sandbags!! He said several directions.

      1. I would love it if in Miami the Merc is amongst the front runners and Mercedes PR release an image of Toto holding a sandbag with the caption “Found it”!

        1. Hahaha

        2. @alex that would be gold

  5. Funny that F1 cars will be porpoising around the Hardrock stadium home of the Miami Dolphins. I guess ‘Dolphining’ doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

    1. +1 indeed :)

  6. so George did good , but with LH merc failed ?

    1. Not really, LH had a different wing and different setup, so in that respect merc did fail him.

      Not to detract from Russell, he’s doing a phenomenal job

  7. If it is by the same group of people that landed current state, thn it is wrong direction again

  8. I believe from the information given that the merc car is actually very very fast.
    Once they get the poiporsing under control and they begin to extract the potential speed i think they will be race winner contenders and championship contenders. Such is the might of the Mercedes.

    1. That’s a good promise but it doesn’t mean much. Car having potential doesn’t mean it will succeed. Many racing teams such as Leyton House F1 team’s history would tell you that potential of being one of the fastest cars on the grid doesn’t guarantee a race win let alone a championship.

      1. Lewis and mercs history says otherwise…

        1. I think those days are over, for now at least. It might take them a couple of seasons to get close, or when RedBull and Ferrari start finding smaller and smaller development gains. Who knows?

  9. Chris Horton
    4th May 2022, 9:25

    Note Wolff felt the need to say ‘both drivers’ had been working in the simulator…my opinion based on evidence is Russell has done the vast majority with Hamilton doing a little.

    Hamilton – “I don’t use the simulator, never seen the point”. (Not verbatim)

    1. Perhaps, but perhaps desperate times call for desperate measures. I’d like to think that LH is doing everything he possibly can to help, and certainly I read TW saying LH is doing just that. And imho he better be, given his salary and all the trophies he has acquired with Mercedes’ help.

      1. Chris Horton
        4th May 2022, 15:53

        I hope so, that is absolutely what should be happening.

        I just wonder how someone who should be working night and day to help the team that have given him all this success, could have been working on a bid with Serena Williams to buy Chelsea. That’s hardly the work of a moment.

        Sadly, I find him disingenuous and full of empty platitudes. I feel it’s been clear to see that in the moments when things haven’t been so rosy in his career.
        I could be very wrong and he’s the complete opposite of what I’m suggesting, but I don’t feel that’s the case at all.

        1. Mxm……. Just say you don’t like LH and move along. Finding reasons to criticize when you have no factual evidence

  10. Well, no need to hurry. Rather enjoying not seeing the usual suspects. We could use a break after a full decade.

  11. How are they going to improve their PU considering that only the MGU-K, the CE and the ES can still be developed till September. Mercedes PU seems to be suffering the most with the introduction of the E10 fuel and this has been already noted by several sources since the winter testing.
    Besides RBR have already delivered with an upgrade package and they seem to be more and more confident with their car with the season progressing. Ferrari are still running with their test spec car and it’s arguably the fastest car depending on the circuit. If they will deliver what is expected from them to deliver in Spain which is a good benchmarking track. Then Mercedes should throw everything they have on next year’s car.

    1. This years championship is too long to throw away just now.

      1. Merc will soon run out of races even trying to identify the problems, never mind fixing them and then out developing BOTH RedBull and Ferrari. Most races will be a test session for them.

      2. Even if Mercedes might have figured out what’s needed to be done in order to fight for the championship, they could still be halted by the restrictions in place on what a team can do development wise.

  12. According to the Driver 61 site, the Red Bull advantage (perhaps now implemented by Ferrari too) is an underfloor ‘skate’ that both channels the air flow to the diffuser and prevents the kind of sudden loss of downforce causing porpoising. It’s one of those borderline legal (presumably FIA-approved for now) innovations that gives a definite advantage under new regulations but could be implemented by other teams fairly quickly.
    Ahem, Mercedes.

    1. @david-br Oh the way I read it is that RBR have adopted this from Ferrari and Alfa Romeo. Not that RBR needed it to prevent porpoising as they seem to have been pretty on top of that from day one…not totally immune to it, but barely bothered by it either. But for sure if this ‘skate’ is helping channel air flow to the diffuser, then I do wonder if that has helped them find better balance and thus better tire wear, and perhaps more downforce, all as evidenced by their last race. I’d be surprised if Mercedes is just one ‘skate’ away from improving though, but of course they need all the help they can get and perhaps that would help get them going in the right direction, if of course it makes sense for their car and it’s floor and diffuser etc etc.

      1. @david-br Sorry check that…I hadn’t watched the video you referenced as I assumed you and it were talking about the ‘dividers’ RBR added at the leading edge of the floor in the centre under the nose which is what I read had been taken out of the Ferrari/Alfa Romeo play book.

        1. @robbie There are those bits on the edge too but the actual floor design is presumably far more effective?

  13. They need to look on YT. Every f1 channel has a complete solution to their problem fully explained in 10 minutes.

  14. Why do people always assume lewis is this lazy dumb arrogant non team player? Yet the people in the team speak of the work ethic of lewis. His unrelenting persuit for more performance. He actually is always in dialogue with the engineers. And he is a hard worker not just a naturally talented driver. Maybe its sublime racism. Unconscious racism.

    1. Yes, everyone who doesn’t think He is awesome is automatically a racist.

  15. Pjotr (@pietkoster)
    5th May 2022, 12:28

    At high speed the car is sucked to the ground.. untill the air flow is blocked, up, down, up,down. Toto: we have several solutions, we drive slower, build an other floor, give up. Get the battle on and fast. Three fighting for WDC is better than two.

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