Mercedes Is “Not Out” Of World Championship Fight

Although Mercedes has deficits in many areas, the 2022 World Cup is far from lost: stay the distance so far, then take a look
“We have no illusions about where we are at the moment,” says Mercedes engineer Andrew Shawlin after a completely sobering start to the Silver Arrows season. Although Luis Hamilton managed to win a surprising podium in Sachir, he has already retired to K1 in Jedi and finished only in tenth place.
And George Russell’s fourth and fifth places are not exactly what the serial world champion imagined. But the situation is as it is and Mercedes must put its problems under control if it wants to be entitled to the title this season.
The topic of “porpoising” has been in the center of attention in recent weeks. Mercedes V13 seems to have more problems with this phenomenon than other teams. And that brings with it the rat tail of other restrictions.
This is probably easy to see from Louis Hamilton, who emphasizes that he did not have any problems with porpoises in Jedi. Mercedes probably ironed it out, but the Briton was simply slow – a consequence of compromise.

“We don’t drive a car the way we want to drive it,” admits motorsport chief Toto Wolf. Because in order for the phenomenon not to happen again, Mercedes has to make compromises with the setup. That is why it is difficult to estimate what our backlog would be if we could drive a car lower “, says the Austrian: the engine is no longer top notch
According to Wolf, the V13 is missing in many areas, and Hamilton also wants more grip and more power than his car. “We are clearly lagging behind in terms of top speed,” he says. “I don’t know if you have to deal with just one thing or it’s a lot of things. I don’t know how much resistance we have compared to the others, but I feel like a lot.”
And here comes the next problem: the unit no longer has the great advantage it had in previous years. On the contrary: it is even rumored that Mercedes is only the third best engine behind Honda and Ferrari.
But Wolf rejects that: “I don’t think it’s important to just point a finger at individual parts of a car. “We work together as a team and I think we generally have deficits that are bigger than the engine deficit,” he said. “But you have to remember that this engine helped us win eight championships in a row.

The speed was good in Jedi
Besides, things in Jedi didn’t look so bad, according to George Russell. When you managed to boost the engine for qualifying, you were on par with Ferrari at top speed. Red Bull was faster, but they also drove towards Russell with significantly fewer wings.

However, Russell noticed that Red Bull could accelerate again in the middle of the line. “They seem to have done a better job of reducing resistance at high speeds,” he says. “Their pace is exceptional at the moment. We have to work in all areas to catch them.
According to Wolf, Mercedes is currently not one of the best teams in any field. “Now we just have to grab our hair and use all our strength to get out of the mess,” he said.

The question is: how long does it take? And can Mercedes still intervene in the fight for the World Cup? “I have no doubt that Mercedes will get involved in the fight at some point,” Red Bull team boss Christian Horner knows about the potential of the Silver Arrows. But first you have to bake some smaller rolls.

No jump in Melbourne?
For Melbourne, Russell expects a similar performance as in Sahir and Jedi, where they were well behind Ferrari and Red Bull. “I see no reason why we should take big steps,” he said. Wolff is also afraid that: “The difference is too big to just be there for the next races. Melbourne will not be a picnic.”

But: Mercedes has definitely not postponed the fight for the World Cup yet. “There are 23 races, two of which were run. So the season is still incredibly long and we must not fall into the trap of estimating how we will look in the middle of the season or at the end of the season based on our current performance, “Wolf emphasizes.
“Definitely not coming out” after two races
And failures like that of Max Verstappen in Bahrain help. Expressed in numbers: George Russell is currently only three points behind the Dutchman, with Luis Hamilton at least nine points.

“We definitely didn’t lose after two races,” says Russell, and he is still relaxed: “Even if we continue like this for five, six, seven, eight races, we are still at a striking distance. There is no reason why we should not turn around. “However, he warns:” If we do not find any improvements, then we have no chance to fight for this championship.
However, there is still optimism in this regard: “In the last eight years, the team has kept all performance problems under control,” explains Shawlin.