Mercedes will introduce its final aerodynamic upgrade of the 2022 Formula 1 season at the United States Grand Prix next weekend as it tries to end the year with a victory.
Seven straight championship doubles between 2014 and 2020 were followed by a constructors’ title last season, but Mercedes has struggled with the 2021 regulations compared to Red Bull. Trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin says an update focused on delivering more lap time will be introduced in Austin with the aim of fighting with Red Bull and Ferrari in the final four rounds but also learning for 2023.
“It’s our final step of aero development and that will hopefully give us a bit more performance but importantly with every step, we are learning more and more and that learning we can carry into next year,” Shovlin said. “So that’s part of it, also there is a few bits where we have taken some weight out of components that will hopefully get the car closer to the weight limit. It’s very difficult for us to predict where we are going to be.
“In Singapore Lewis was awfully close to pole position, yet in Suzuka both cars had a big gap to the front. Now, our race pace has been reasonably strong, so, if we can make a step, hopefully we can get into the fight with the Ferraris and the Red Bulls. But qualifying for us is the really difficult one to predict at the moment. As I said, a lot of it is about learning and we are certainly going to give it our best shot in the final four races.”
However, despite the aims of the new parts Shovlin says the season has been tough to predict and he’s unsure how Circuit of the Americas will suit Mercedes this year.
“It’s a tricky circuit and it was a tricky circuit for us last year,” he said. “It was very bumpy, there was a lot of overheating from the tires and we weren’t performing as well as Red Bull were on the softer tires.
“They have done some resurfacing so hopefully those issues with the bumps are a bit less, but what’s very hard this year is to really know where you are going to be on the circuit before you’ve gone there and a lot of it is about learning.
“We will not really be going to make any predictions about where we are going to perform, we just need to go there on Friday, see what kind of issues we have and then see whether we can solve those with set-up.”