Slow-corner performance suggests upgraded Mercedes won’t suit Monaco – Wolff

2022 Monaco Grand Prix

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Following their breakthrough performance in the Spanish Grand Prix, Mercedes are not convinced they will be as strong at the next round on the calendar in Monaco.

The team introduced a significant upgrade for their W13 last weekend which brought them within striking distance of the the front-runners.

But this may have come at the expense of their slow-corner performance. That was one of the car’s few strengths previously, but team principal Toto Wolff noted they were not as competitive through the tight chicane in the final sector of the Circuit de Catalunya last weekend.

“We have been particularly off-pace this weekend in the slow corners in the last sector,” said Wolff in response to a question from RaceFans.

However he noted this was partly “due to overheating” in the high temperatures in Spain last weekend. “That might be different in Monaco,” Wolff acknolwedged.

Track temperatures exceeded 50C last weekend on one of the most demanding venues on the calendar for tyres. Monaco is far less punishing, and Pirelli will bring their softest rubber instead of their hardest.

Mercedes have been less competitive at Monaco than other circuits in recent years, Wolff added.

“Monaco in the past wasn’t our most happy place, maybe because the car had the size of an elephant,” he said. “But I’ll be curious to see where we are this weekend.

“We still struggled with the warm-up a little bit. So my expectations for Monaco are lower than on any other circuit. I’m not sure I can explain scientifically why that is, but it’s going to be another learning point, at least, to bring us back into into the game.”

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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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29 comments on “Slow-corner performance suggests upgraded Mercedes won’t suit Monaco – Wolff”

  1. In that case: better not start in the first place, to save the mileage?

    1. Cheeky… :)

    2. what @millionus said :)

    3. If low speed performance was better either the previous spec, I wonder if bringing the old floor is a consideration. Perhaps they will be able to test both setups on Friday before choosing which way to go for qualifying.

      1. I don’t think it was better with that floor though @keithedin, since the biggest thing with this new floor seems to be that they can run the car more closer to the planned ride height without suffering too much of the porpoising.

      2. It’s much more than that.

  2. I thought they were one of the best in slow speed corners. Have they given up that characteristic through their updates? Because prior to Spain, their onboards on the slow speed corners looked arguably the best behind Ferrari.

    1. I don’t understand Toto on this one. Nothing unusual to be honest. The situation in Spain – best Sector-3 times:
      1) 44 LH 28.749
      2) 63 GR 28.853
      3) 11 SP 28.973
      4) 1 MV 29.017
      5) 31 EO 29.268
      6) 14 FA 29.274
      7) 16 CL 29.309

      1. They had soft tyres but Hamilton’s time was set on the same stint as Perez’. In qualifying, maybe because drivers did not follow the minimum lap time, the Mercedes were quite slow in the final sector.

        1. I’m just glad they don’t understand their car. They anticipated 8th place finish for Lewis and he climbed up to fourth. Sadly, he lost one place due to overheating. However, Monaco is the ultimate test of suspension kinematics and I’m sure Mercedes team is in two minds about it. It reminds me of Lotus E22 in 2014. when they had the best result of the season in Barcelona and Monaco brought them back to reality. Luckily Nick Chester and co realized what was the issue and came back with E23 in 2015. which was a great car, quick out of the box. Unfortunately, poor budget limited their performance and fourth in the constructors was the maximum. I have no doubts about Mecedes team being in far better shape when it comes to issue solving compared to Team Lotus from 2014, but complexity of the context might hinder their progress. I think of budget cap compromising development rate if you have issues to fix.

        2. @krichelle But we know that qualifying is all-important in Monaco. It’ll do them no good to be best in race trim when it’s impossible to pass.

          1. Yes, unless they can get the strategy right and overcut someone.

  3. PlumbobSquarepants
    25th May 2022, 10:00

    Maybe chucking the towel in before the race is smoke & mirrors like the last race.

  4. I was actually surprised to see Russell pulling away from the RBRs out of the chicane, suggesting very good traction. It seemed the main reason he was so difficult to pass, nws Verstappens DRS issue, which should not have mattered since he was literally under Russell’s wing going into the chicane. Also I’m guessing the bouncing won’t be a huge issue in Monaco because 1. Few high speed corners and 2. Ride height is up due to bumps and to get more roll and squat into the set up for traction.

  5. Monaco in the past wasn’t our most happy place, maybe because the car had the size of an elephant

    ! Not a quote anyone would have expected to hear from TW at the time. All too true though.

    1. The new car still is an elephant, it’s an overweight elephant

      1. Sadly so.

  6. Their rear wing was not as massive as RB’s.
    Maybe the old floor might suit the slower speeds of monaco or perhaps it won’t cope with the bumps. Their limousine never liked Monaco any way.

    1. @peartree oh yeah I mean they only won 5 of the last 8 races there. Clearly a bogus track for them.

      1. @mattds

        Winning only 5 of the last 8 at that circuit since 2014, probably makes Monaco their weakest circuit.

      2. @mattds exactly, bogey track as they won 8 out the last 8 almost everywhere.

  7. I wonder what are the dimensions of the new 2022 cars compared to the 2021 cars? How much smaller are they? They seem to be shorter at least.

    I guess there is also the larger wheel rims to consider and what effect these will have for the drivers around Monaco.

  8. Oh good, he’s back to his usual underdogging ways…

  9. Merc wasnt quick in Monaco in the last years, if i remember correctly. Would be surprised to see them ahead of the midfield.

    1. @romtrain in the last years… They won 2019, 2020 was cancelled, and in 2021 Bottas was running second until The Longest Pitstop Ever happened.

      1. @mattds I wonder whether they’ve got the tyre off yet?

      2. 2019 they had the fastest car in quali, which allowed them to lock the front row, in the race verstappen was faster but couldn’t find his way past hamilton, in 2021 bottas had a risk to lose position to sainz in the pits, he was recovering, so not an exceptional car for mercedes’ standards, then you have 2018 where they were the 3rd fastest car, 2017 also not impressive, 2016 won because of ricciardo’s pit issue, I mean, for mercedes’ record they indeed aren’t impressive at monaco.

  10. This season they’re definitely worst in the slow corners – which is consistent with been the most sensitive to porpoising.

    Doesn’t surprise me. Probably means they’ll set up the car more for qualifying as position is vital here.

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