Mercedes has won eight Formula 1 constructors’ titles in a row. The Germans were unstoppable between 2014 and 2021, but the 2022 season has not started well for them.
Changes to the regulations have meant that Red Bull and Ferrari have built the best cars of 2022, while Mercedes has to settle for being behind them.
We are only two races into this new era and at the moment Mercedes has not had it easy as the W13 seems to be the F1 car that suffers the most from porpoising and until the team can control it the progression looks to be a difficult task.
Anthony Davidson is a former F1 driver currently working as a simulator driver for Mercedes and an analyst for Sky Sports. Davidson told this outlet that he knew almost immediately that the team would be in a difficult position.
“In Bahrain, I could see that the car that was on the track did not look like the car that I knew, the one in the simulator. That caused some alarms to go off immediately,” he explained.
These issues that Davidson saw are due to the extreme porpoising the W13 suffers at the hands of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, caused by the car set-up and desired ride height, which they are unable to use.
The negative impact on driver comfort and speed is so great that Davidson says there are no solutions left other than adjusting the car’s height from the ground.
“I think the main problem here is that they can’t drive the car to the height they want. Other teams, including Red Bull, can scrape the ground, you can see it in the sparks coming from the underside of the car. This car can’t physically go down to the ground”, analyzes the former pilot.
“You don’t really see that with the Mercedes and you don’t really see that with the Ferrari, where you see a lot more rebound. Ideally, Mercedes would drive at the height that Red Bull does, but every time they try, the rebound is such that it’s detrimental to [the driver’s] comfort and the speed of the car. And it doesn’t just happen on the straights, but also in the fast corners. The car then becomes a kind of runaway horse, which you can’t hold on to. “.
What makes the situation even more difficult for Hamilton and Russell is that they are aware that the car has potential. “They know the car can be much faster, but they’re not able to drive it as low as they want. It’s a fascinating problem,” says Davidson, who concludes that Mercedes are currently in a class of their own until a solution is found.
“The Mercedes is not as good as the Red Bull and the Ferrari, and it’s in no man’s land. The car is in a gray area where you can’t attack the front, but it’s definitely faster than the middle. behind him. I hope they make progress, but it will take time. This is not something that can be solved quickly.”