The German automaker is emerging from a tough 2022 campaign where it has struggled to rise to the top of the new rules era like rivals Red Bull and Ferrari.
His new W13 car struggled with porpoising at the start and, despite making good progress during the year, still finished the campaign with a performance deficit up front.
But while the team says the year delivered valuable lessons in helping them understand how best to approach the new ground effect regulations, they don’t claim they fully understand everything that’s going on. went badly this year.
When asked if the team has full control over the car, meaning his W14 will have banished all weaknesses, mercedes Chief strategist James Vowles said in the team’s regular post-race videos: “I don’t think you can really now, or even during the winter, claim that we know everything about the W13.
“There were ups and downs, absolutely, and that’s the part of what I meant by this car that has things in it that we think we understand and some of them that still don’t fully explained because of this.
“But if you look at the direction to go, the deviations from the front, especially on the race pace, we have made huge progress and you only do that by understanding where your problems are, by working on it and working as a team.”
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport pictures
Mercedes seems ready to change the concept of its car for next season.
The W13 is thought to have suffered badly because its peak performance could only be produced by riding very low to the ground – which then exposed it to worse porpoising and bouncing.
The change in approach could pay off, but Mercedes are still aware that there remained a big performance gap in Abu Dhabi last weekend between it and Red Bull.
“The confidence that we have is that we now have our tools, our wind tunnel tools, our development tools, our performance tools here in the organization producing performance that is more than our competition, and that allows us to advance relative to them,” he said.
“There is still a void and Abu Dhabi has really shown that. It has to be caught up throughout the winter and I think we have a very good process and system in place to do that.
“This development that you have seen throughout the season will continue through the winter and I think we will be in a very good position next year.”
Vowles believes the Mercedes team ends the year stronger as an organization, due to its need to come together to fix its mistakes.
“We’re a team used to success, used to winning, used to being up front and we weren’t,” he said. “And it really changed the organization for the positive.
“We’re much better off of it and it’s the characters that built and we built as a result of that.
“It’s been difficult, there’s no doubt about it. We weren’t in a position that we were used to and you have to make sure that as a result you adapt going forward – and we have that. do.
“I think we’ve proven from the start of the season compared to the end how far we’ve come.”
He added: “This team had to come closer than ever. It’s very easy in these circumstances, in these difficult times to part ways and we didn’t.
“The drivers have pulled themselves together, and I’m convinced we have the best driver line-up on the grid. We have two incredible drivers who push each other but work as a team to improve the car.
“We have a team both at Brixworth and Brackley and on the track all working together with one goal in mind and that’s not necessarily winning anymore. It’s to make sure we understand the package we have, so that we get back to our victories next year.”
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