Mercedes is hoping new parts for its W13, which could be ready in time for the Miami Grand Prix next week, will begin to address the weaknesses of its 2022 car.
Mercedes has been struggling with bouncing, or porpoising, with its car to such an extent that George Russell admitted he was in pain in the car during last weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. While there were some upgrades introduced at Imola, trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin says some important components could be added to the car for Miami that will tell the team if it has identified a way of improving the situation.
“We know that gap that we need to make up to get where we want to be but as a team, we are very focused on the engineering challenge that this is — and it is a very interesting engineering challenge,” Shovlin said.
“(These are) problems that are new to us, that we need to get on top of and understand, and there is an enormous amount of energy back here (at the team’s Brackley, UK factory) going into that. Day by day we are moving forward, we are learning more about it and 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.
“We are not expecting to solve this overnight, but if we can get a clue that we are going in the right direction, that we really got to the bottom of what is going on, then we will be quite pleased.”
Despite team principal Toto Wolff talking about trying to unlock the car’s potential, Shovlin believes the process will be a much more gradual one for Mercedes to find gains.
“We’re having to run higher ride heights and by running higher ride heights, it’s got less performance. Now, that might be true for almost every car on the grid. Lots of people are suffering with this problem and we know that lifting the car is a way of alleviating it.
“A lot of the work that is going on in Brackley has been to understand the phenomenon and whether we can actually control it, whether we can engineer it out of the car. When Toto talks about finding the key, what he is really talking about is, is there an aerodynamic solution that we can apply to the car that will make this problem go away?
“Now, being realistic we think this will be something we approach in steps rather than one big moment where the whole thing vanishes, but we are seeing encouraging signs as I said.”