Mercedes has indicated that better times are on the way, with upgrades planned for the upcoming race weekend, the Miami Grand Prix.
According to Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin, Mercedes is working on modifications that could be implemented in time for the season’s next round in Miami.
Mercedes has had a difficult start to the new rules in Formula One, lagging behind early pacesetters Ferrari and Red Bull due to structural difficulties with their 2022 contender, led by excessive porpoising.
The issue, which has been triggered by the sport’s return to ground effect aerodynamics, is forcing Mercedes to run their car at a higher ride height to counteract the extreme impacts, resulting in a loss of valuable performance.
George Russell and Lewis Hamilton suffered so much during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix that team manager Toto Wolff declared the W13 “undriveable,” with Russell’s car’s floor receiving damage at one point.
While Russell battled his way to fourth place in Imola thanks to a solid start, Hamilton was stuck in the middle of the pack and had to settle for 13th, prompting Wolff to apologise.
Shovlin acknowledges that Mercedes has a big challenge ahead of them, but that the team is making good progress behind the scenes.
“We know where we are at the moment and we know that gap that we need to make up to get where we want to be,” he said. “As a team, we are very focused on the engineering challenge that this is, and it is a very interesting engineering challenge.”
“Problems that are new to us, that we need to get on top of and understand, and there is an enormous amount of energy back here [at the factory] going into that, but day by day we are moving forward, and we are learning more about it.”
Shovlin is optimistic that the initial updates, which are based on the team’s early-season discoveries, would come in time for Miami, allowing them to see if their hard work is paying off.
“Hopefully soon, maybe as soon as Miami, we can start to bring some parts to the car,” he added, with the race scheduled for the weekend of 6-8 May.
“[These] will hopefully give us an indication on whether we are moving in the right direction.
“We are not expecting to solve this overnight, but if we can get a clue that we are going in the right direction, that we really got to the bottom of what is going on, then we will be quite pleased that we are moving on the right path.”