Mercedes have had to deal with a porpoising issue on their W13 car since the new 2022 rules were introduced, leaving them behind their rivals.
However, after debuting a significant upgrade package in Barcelona, Russell was third and Hamilton climbed back to fifth despite a first lap incident that dropped him to the back of the grid, so the team he thought he had solved the problem.
Lewis Hamilton then said it offered a “glimmer of hope” for Mercedes’ season by easing the porpoising problem, while team boss Toto Wolff believed he was back in title contention against Red Bull and Ferrari .
However, the team’s performance failed to improve significantly after Barcelona, and difficult races at the Monaco GP and Azerbaijan GP made it clear that it had not resolved the problems with the W13.
Speaking at Suzuka last weekend, Mercedes technical director Mike Elliott explained that the car’s main problem only became apparent when not even the Barcelona update, which they hoped would turn their year around, I fix it.
“The problems that we’ve built into the car, we couldn’t see because of the porpoising,” Elliott analyzed.
“The rebound hid everything. And once we sorted it out in Barcelona, and got a package that made a substantial difference, we thought, ‘We’re in, we’re going in the right direction,’ but then we got a real kick in the teeth at the next two races.
“If you remove the next layer of the onion, another problem appears. And that was the one that we had really created in the car during the winter.”
“Since then, we’ve taken several steps to try to move in the right direction, but to really undo it, it’s going to take the end of the season.”
Mercedes continued to develop the W13 in an attempt to solve the problem it had, allowing it to get closer to Red Bull Racing and Ferrari.
Russell took pole in Hungary, but the team is yet to win a race this year, with just four rounds remaining.
Elliott said the pressure of trying to fix the porpoising issue that arose in pre-season testing was made more difficult by the limited opportunities to run the car, especially as free practice sessions required them to get the car up and running. point to the grand prix weekend.
“You have very little time to test, because you only have one hour on Friday morning, one hour on Friday afternoon, and then you have to really work on race weekend,” Elliott said.
“That makes it take some time to learn. At the same time the factory program is done and we discovered, probably after Baku, that there was clearly another problem.”
“We went back through the data, through our simulations, and found what we had suffered. And then from there, you have a limited amount of time.”
“The problem is aerodynamic and it takes time to fix it,” he lamented.