Mercedes, Miami International Autodrome, 2022

“Encouraging start” for Mercedes as Russell goes second-quickest in updated car

2022 Miami Grand Prix

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Mercedes ran revised front and rear wings in first practice for the Miami Grand Prix, where George Russell set the second-quickest time.

The team’s head of trackside engineering Andrew Shovlin described it as “an encouraging start to the weekend” but said they were reading to much into their apparent improvement compared to the last race at Imola.

Mercedes have changed the design of their front wing, cutting back the bodywork where the chord meets the endplate. They also introduced a lower-drag rear wing and a beam wing with a smaller chord.

The new endplate gives “more downforce for the same drag”, Shovlin told Sky, “and the rear wing’s a more efficient wing than the one we’ve been running. So you’ve seen at previous, low-drag tracks we’ve trimmed our wing away. This one’s designed for this downforce.

Mercedes, Miami International Autodrome, 2022
Mercedes’ new front wing end plate
“Both of those together are useful and those are items that when we make them, we re-make them lighter, so it’s helping with getting weight out of the car.”

The new parts are also lighter, Shovlin added. “We’re always trying to get weight out of the car, we were still overweight. And it seems to be working reasonably well.”

Only one of their cars scraped into the top 10 in the damp first practice session at Imola two weeks ago, following which neither driver made the cut for Q3. Shovlin believes the different conditions in Miami will explain some of their apparent performance gain.

“In Imola we were struggling with [tyre] warm-up, the big thing here is overheating. Whether that’s shifted us in the right direction I don’t know.

“But we won’t get excited about where we are here, we know that we should have improved the car, but we know we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, Miami International Autodrome, 2022
Gallery: Miami Grand Prix practice in pictures
The porpoising problem the team has suffered all year also seemed to have lessened in first practice. However Shovlin said they still don’t entirely understand what causes the ‘bouncing’ phenomenon.

“There is less but when we’ve gone from track to track we get different amounts and we don’t yet fully understand why, for instance, Jeddah seemed worse than Bahrain. We’re still building up a picture of that.

“It seems to be working quite well here and it’s not the issue it was in Imola. But then in Imola just that one session to set the car up really worked against us this is not an easy car to position the set-up at the moment.”

Despite Russell’s encouraging performance, Shovlin doesn’t believe the team is near to its pre-2022 status as regular pole position contenders.

“We’re not going to say that just yet. Obviously getting into Q3 is the minimum expectation for this team but we know that we had a long road to go along and we’re just trying to do that step-by-step.”

Mercedes AMG F1 W13 rear wing. Miami International Autodrome, 2022
Mercedes AMG F1 W13 rear wing. Miami International Autodrome, 2022

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2022 Miami Grand Prix

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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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9 comments on ““Encouraging start” for Mercedes as Russell goes second-quickest in updated car”

  1. Us Brits have been quite lucky tbf with Lewis going in few yrs to have Russel and Lando leading the charge is gonna mean atleast another decade plus of having a top driver in the sport Lando is good to great. Russel is probably a generational talent he destroyed Lando in F2. And look at Russel been the leading Merc when the car aint good. Lewis was better in Bahrain and Australia but Russel gave Ham a hammering in Jeddah and Imola. Russel looks the real deal.

    1. Atleast Max and Leclerc should not have it there own way i mean no saying Russel is better than them but he will be right with them im sure.

    2. Russell

  2. If they have managed to get in the fight were in for a cracker the rest of the season and will mean 3 teams winning races would love a 2010 style season. It would be hilarious tho if Merc found something like 2013 Vettel and they started dominating people will be raging lol

    1. Yes, or a 2003 style season! And then you have those seasons where not all 3 fight for the championship but are capable of winning races such as 2017, 2018, 2019.

  3. Should have done a deal with SeaWorld for this race if they’re still porpoising.

    1. @bullfrog I feel like that is too much negative PR, given how visible F1 is on a global scale and how tragic the many deaths at SeaWorld have been, as well as their historical treatment of sea animals.

  4. The heat is definitely helping the Mercs tyres in Miami. It will be interesting to see if they look as competitive when they return to lower temperatures.

  5. It seemed the Ferrari wasn’t porpoising as much too. I wonder if there have been changes to the cars or if it is track specific. It felt like someone had turned a stabiliser on. I’d gotten so used to the crazy bumping that it seemed weird to see them driving smoothly down the straights!

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