The troubled Mercedes Formula 1 team plans “experiments” at this weekend’s Miami Grand Prix that it hopes will begin its return towards the front of the field.
Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin suggested last week that potentially significant new parts might arrive for the United States race.
“Hopefully, soon, maybe as soon as Miami, we can start to bring some parts to the car that will hopefully give us an indication on whether we are moving in the right direction,” he said.
Team boss Toto Wolff appeared to confirm that new components would be brought to Miami in his comments in Mercedes’ weekend preview – though he intimated that anything tried at the new venue would be more about validating the direction for following upgrades rather than being immediately game-changing new parts.
“Since we returned from Italy, we’ve learned as much from the weekend as we can and, in parallel, our learning has continued in the windtunnel and simulations,” said Wolff.
“We have found several directions for improving the car, and we will be conducting experiments in Miami to correlate those simulations, and hopefully confirm the development path for the coming races.
“Both drivers have been working in the simulator ahead of Miami and the factories have been busy producing updates for the next races.
“The saying ‘smooth seas do not make good sailors’ comes to mind. This team has shown its resilience over many years and the difficult start to this season has lit a fire within every team member, determined to put it right.”
Mercedes has been particularly badly affected by the porpoising problem that has returned to F1 with the new generation of ground effect cars.
That has forced it to raise its ride heights in a manner that has severely compromised its W13’s performance.
Related issues with tyre temperature made the last grand prix at Imola particularly painful, with neither George Russell nor Lewis Hamilton making Q3 – the first time Mercedes had suffered that fate in F1’s hybrid engine era.
While Russell was able to recover to fourth by the end of the main race, Hamilton finished a lapped 13th.
Third places in Bahrain (Hamilton) and Australia (Russell) are Mercedes’ only podiums of 2022 so far as Ferrari and Red Bull have moved out of reach at the front of the field.
The reigning champion team sits third in the constructors’ standings, 47 points behind leader Ferrari, with Russell its current top scorer in fourth in the drivers’ table, 37 away from leader Charles Leclerc and 21 points and three places ahead of Hamilton.