If the current championship could be explained through a single albeit hard-hitting one-liner, then it could perhaps read something like this – what has gone wrong with Mercedes!
The third race of a brand new Formula 1 season has almost dawned upon us and what do we see? Ferrari, a team that had been struggling in the midfield for the better part of the last two championships, barring an occasional sunny day, are on top of the Constructor standings. Red Bull, ever so firmly positioned in the top three of any Grand Prix last year, are fighting their way back against Ferrari. Meanwhile, Mercedes, a dominant force in the top tier of racing and a constructor all in the grid aspired to be, are fighting.
What issues do Mercedes face?
To say that Mercedes have been found wanting in the recent two Grands Prix of the 2022 season would be a bit of an understatement. They haven’t been caught napping where it comes to pace; they’ve just not been able to get on top of the primary issue their W13, the 2022 championship contender, faces: porpoising.
In this modern era of ‘cut-no-corners’ and incessantly fast Grand Prix racing, cars are overly reliant on downforce. You find a way to have it assist you and you soar in a race. But in porpoising, a phenomenon caused by sudden increase and decrease of downforce, the cars appear to be bouncier than usual, and it’s just the snag that the Toto Wolff-led team hasn’t quite been able to arrest. A loss in downforce, particularly seen during the Bahrain GP, resultantly hampered both Russell and Lewis’ race.
What updates one expects Mercedes to carry at Melbourne?
Now, as the F1 circus has arrived at Australia, there’s strong belief that Mercedes will benefit from some of the updates that the Brackley-based team have brought forth for the forthcoming contest.
And while it may or may not necessarily solve the grievous issue, what’s known is that it would, at least, hold the car in good stead for the races that follow.
So what exactly is the W13 update about?
It is reported that the German team is likely to field an all-new rearwing of the W13. In a bid to tackle the lack of pace,which clearly isn’t the issue with Ferrari or Red Bull, Mercedes have increased the ride height of the W13, which is the gap between the floor (ground) and the undercarriage of the chassis.
How will the change impact Mercedes?
The new rearwing, once installed, will presumably lead to lower downforce. But the key question, however, remains at large; will this move actually benefit the Lewis Hamilton and George Russell-powered team since the Albert Park circuit is a high downforce track?
Nonetheless, pointing to conjecture without even hitting the free practice won’t serve anyone’s purpose.
And having said that, the team has reiterated the fact that they are not going to give up in their bid to return, once again, to the front of the fighting pack. Which is where they’ll find their real challenge- the attacking Red Bull and a no-holds-barred Ferrari!
“We certainly have our work cut out over the next weeks and months but we are more determined than ever to get ourselves back fighting at the front!”
That being said, what truly holds the power to make the ongoing strife (to claim the championship) a thrilling affair, is to see an improved Mercedes return to the top, which is presently, a Ferrari versus Red Bull battleground. Imagine the possibilities then of seeing a three way fight to the top of the standings?