Toto Wolff believes that Mercedes have lost 8 to 10 months of development time on the current W13 car. The reason for this is the serious bounce the Brackley team has faced in the first half of the 2022 F1 season.
Mercedes is experiencing a difficult season with the new generation car W13. Already during the tests, the Silver Arrows car was seriously affected by a strong bounce. This prevented the team from revealing its full potential and allowed the accumulation of a serious gap over Red Bull and Ferrari.
The German manufacturer needed several months to understand the factors that led to this severe bounce. The team from Brackley introduced a number of changes to the W13 car. They helped Lewis Hamilton and George Russell close the gap on Red Bull and even catch up with Ferrari.
Despite managing to bounce back, Mercedes are yet to record a win this campaign. The team from Brackley came close to success on several occasions, but eventually lost to Red Bull.
The Brackley team also suffered from not being able to work on performance improvements until they had ironed out their car’s radical design issues. In this regard, Wolf believes that Mercedes can still catch up to Red Bull. The Austrian is sure that this will not make it easier for him to return to the fight for victories from the start of next season.
“I believe we all understand where the difference to Red Bull comes from. They will carry over some of their advantages into next year as well,” said Wolff.
“We lost 8-10 months of development on this year’s car. To be honest, we never understood what was wrong and how to deal with all these problems. So I expect that next year we will face a huge challenge again.”
“We’re all playing the long game. Both of our drivers are playing for the long term, as is the whole team. Our performance evaluation is not based on one year or one weekend. That’s how we win championships in the long run,” added Toto Wolff.
Mercedes has become Red Bull’s main rival in recent races in North America. At the same time, Ferrari suffered some decline in performance in both the US and Mexico. There is a possibility the Brackley team to catch up with their rivals from Maranello in the last two starts of the year.
The Germans are still chasing their first success of the year. However, the Scuderia can return to the fight for the top positions, while Red Bull still has a visible advantage over Mercedes.
“Ferrari will not be as far behind as they were in Mexico. They will be closer in Brazil and Abu Dhabi. I believe the fight between our two teams will be very close,” said Mercedes chief strategist James Vowles.
“In terms of Red Bull, they still have an advantage over us. I don’t think it’s exactly the three tenths they beat us with [в Мексико]. I expect them to be a few tenths ahead in the next few races.”
“We are getting closer to our ultimate goal compared to where we were at the start of the season. Sometimes we even struggled to get out of Q1 or Q2. We weren’t the team we are now. I believe we are a hair away from fighting for our first win. that’s why it kept going and we won’t stop working.”
“Interlagos is a track where both our drivers usually perform well. In addition, there is also a sprint race where we can earn more points. When you have a car that is a few tenths away from your competitors, you can do something really amazing,” added Mercedes’ chief strategist.
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) November 7, 2022