At last Sunday’s United States Grand Prix, Mercedes came as close as it has come so far in the 2022 Formula 1 season to a win. Taking advantage of a long Max Verstappen pit stop, Lewis Hamilton took the lead at the Circuit of the Americas and led until lap 50 of 56, when the Red Bull driver regained the lead with late braking at the end of the straight. long circuit.
However, the lack of top speed is a chronic symptom of the difficulties of the famous silver bullets. ” I think with DRS they are about 35km/h faster than us ,” team principal Toto Wolff said of the balance of power with Red Bull .
“(Verstappen) was coming from way, way behind. But even without the DRS, they’re still about 8km/h faster, so we’re losing a lot of time down the straight, probably four tenths a lap, at least. We’ve got to do some improvements for next year’s car .”
The 2023 car is going to change a lot from the W13, as it has been proven that Mercedes made a fundamental mistake in the design of its car. And although its technical director, Mike Elliott, recently praised the current car, Toto Wolff says that “the DNA of the car will change for next year, that’s for sure”.
“That doesn’t necessarily mean our bodywork looks very different. But what is part of the car’s DNA, which is its architecture, will certainly change for next year,” he added.
The aerodynamic handicap rule, in force since last year, should in any case facilitate the progress of the star brand compared to its main rivals. Until the end of June, Mercedes was the team that had the least amount of use time in the wind tunnel and in the CFD, due to its results in previous campaigns.
For example, the Brackley wind tunnel could only be used 28 times a week (that is, 35 hours in the wind tunnel, seven of which the tool is active), compared to 30 times for Red Bull and the Ferrari 32. From July, the mid-season manufacturers classification applies, and it is Red Bull that is restricted to 28 uses per week, with Ferrari at 30 and Mercedes at 32.
“We had a significant disadvantage up to that point, because we led the entire 2021 season and won the constructors’ championship. So for the entire first half of 2022, we had seven times less wind tunnel time than Red Bull, let alone than Ferrari (14%). Now it’s the other way around: we’ll have 14 times more than Red Bull if we finish third . That extra time is exactly what the regulations were designed for, to give us the chance to reduce the gap,” Wolff concluded.