The German automaker still faces a battle to understand the W13 in very inconsistent form and time is running out if the team does want to do something completely different next year.
But its choice was a tough one, as it didn’t fully understand all the problems with its 2022 challenger, and didn’t really get a chance to try something completely different this year.
This means the team may need to take a new direction next season, knowing that there is no guarantee it will be better.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says discussions about its 2023 car concept have already started at the factory and the team needs to commit to what it is doing sooner rather than later.
“It was a very difficult situation because we obviously had a specific concept for a car,” he explained. “It’s not like we could do a lot of experiments this year and just simply dial things out and test.
” So our decision for next year needs to be carefully evaluated because obviously our data doesn’t give us our results , irrelevant to reality. There were huge swings in our performance that we couldn’t really beat.
“At this juncture, making a decision for next year, whatever it might be, such as drastically changing the concept, how can you be sure that’s a better direction, because obviously we’re going from more Early start?”
While Mercedes is alone this year with its “zero pod” design, compared to Red Bull’s underwash concept and Ferrari’s interior wash, both cars The biggest difference actually has to do with how and where they generate downforce.
George Russell, Mercedes W13
Photo by Sam Bloxham/Motorsport Images
Mercedes is only at its best when the car is very close to the ground, which is why it has issues with bouncing and the floor hitting the ground.
Red Bull seems to be at the other end of the spectrum, able to deliver the best performance at higher ride heights, the factor that made it so dominant around Spa-Francorchamps last weekend one.
Wolff is well aware that Mercedes’ concept change could go far beyond just tweaking its sidepods.
“It’s hard to say what the concept is,” he said. “Is it the current shape of the chassis? What is that? Is it weight distribution? Is it where you can put the mechanical and air balance? Is it a body concept?
” All of these different The pillars of the car have been assessed, could this mean some of them will disappear while others will remain? That’s what we’re focusing on right now. “
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F1’s cost cap also didn’t help Mercedes’ woes, which meant it also had to deal with financial constraints. Used to spend on B-spec chassis The money just doesn’t exist anymore.
“Look at the chassis … we can’t launch a chassis season at that stage,” Wolf said.
“We are seriously overweight , we can’t really fix this because we’re trying out auto parts to solve our various problems. So we can’t afford it, period.
“So the goal was definitely achieved by introducing cost caps. That’s what they wanted: throw money at what big teams can’t do.”