Mercedes zero room: zero titles, zero victories. And now we are changing

The Brackley team kept its cool in a season of deep technical crisis: the W13 proved to be a faulty car with flaws in aerodynamics and mechanics. Technicians, having found a good reorganization of the data between the wind tunnel and the track, are evaluating which direction should go in 2023. The reference is certainly Red Bull, but for a star, copying is not enough to return to being a winner. Wolf gives two months to choose the most competitive solutions.

Mercedes is so busy deciding the single-seat, star-studded W14 that it will have to replace the disappointing W13: this silver arrow will go down in history for being the first single-seat of the hybrid era to have zero titles, zero wins to choose the zero-pod concept.

After a dominant phase, the Brackley team messed up a car, failing to explain the new regulation that introduced ground effect in the most efficient way and driving a clear difference in performance compared to Red Bull and Ferrari.

Mercedes W13, details of the rear spoiler deflated over the weekend at the Italian Grand Prix

photo from photography: Giorgio Beola

Mercedes technicians lost half the championship trying to understand the instability of the W13’s behaviour, the victim at the start of an angry porpoise that forced the team to raise the bottom of the car, losing aerodynamic load and thus performance.

And to tell the truth, it should be noted that the wrong design choices may be related to the loss of the data link between the wind tunnel and the track, at the crucial moment for the car’s decision-making. Toto Wolff’s expectation was to have a car capable of giving everyone a second, while it immediately became clear in tests in Bahrain that little tummies proved to be a gamble.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13 coe le zero pod comcept

Photography: Stephen T. / motorsports pictures

In the second part of the championship, there is a feeling that productive data collection is yielding results and that the W13, still lacking a flying lap, is able to express its best at the race pace. He struggles for the first few laps with a full fuel tank, but then finds the pace that improves with less mobility.

Mercedes gave the feeling of being able to get closer to Ferrari, but it was more…a slip of red after the introduction of the TD39, than a real leap in Silver Arrow quality. The Brackley has an advantage: It’s a tank that never breaks, and the reliability of the engine is definitely a guarantee that you put important points in the yard at every appointment.

James Allison, will be more involved in the definition of the Mercedes W14

Photography: Steve Etherington / motorsports pictures

Mike Elliott and James Allison, who were converted to the America’s Cup sailing boat project but once again share the definition of the W14, have long been working on the W14, a single-seater car that will have to put Mercedes back into orbit.

“This is a crucial period – Wolf admits – we were lacking in the tools, simulations and data understanding to understand what the problems with the unsuccessful W13 were from an aerodynamic and mechanical point of view. It took months to understand where we were.”

“I don’t think the Holy Grail has been found and today we understand everything, so next year it will be interesting. We have two months left during which we will have to make the most appropriate choices.”

The winter break will be an opportunity for Mercedes to make an important leap forward to present itself in 2023 as a valid competitor to Red Bull and Ferrari. Lewis Hamilton confident considering W14…
“There is potential in the car – said the seven-time world champion -. Now we have the downforce, even if there are some points where we can’t use it. But we’re going in the right direction I’m sure .1,000% of the guys in the factory, who put together all the pieces of the puzzle. : I have no doubt that we will return to the fight next year.”

George Russell, Mercedes W13

Photography: Steve Etherington / motorsports pictures

One fact is certain: the 2023 car will be a cut with the disappointing W14M, ​​but no final decision has yet been made on which direction to take.

Andrew Shovlin, Head of Racetrack Engineering, admitted: “One could say that the fastest car is the one that has the best concept. Today, therefore, we have to look at Red Bull. But where we go next year will be difficult to understand. We have not yet decided what it will look like. Our car. We are still exploring different concepts. This process will continue for some time now. We are looking for the best opportunity to develop, keeping in mind the upcoming new regulations.”

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