Mercedes seemed to have narrowed the distance between itself and the front-running vehicles in previous races after a challenging beginning of 2022 with a car that suffered greatly from porpoising and bouncing. Will the Silver Arrows be able to capture a Grand Prix before the year is over?
The Silver Arrows are good enough to win races in 2018 Formula 1 season, according to Andrew Shovlin, Director of Trackside Engineering at Mercedes.
Between 2014 through 2021, Mercedes won every Constructors’ Championship title that was up for grabs. This year, however, Mercedes has slipped behind, competing with Red Bull and Ferrari for top honours while struggling with podium results.
The decline of Mercedes coincided with the implementation of new aero rules for 2022, and the W13 in particular had significant problems with porpoising and bouncing earlier in the season.
Lewis Hamilton led multiple circuits of the British Grand Prix in previous races, and Shovlin claims he has never doubted the Silver Arrows’ ability to win in 2022. Nevertheless, there have been indications that Mercedes has reduced the distance on the front-runners.
“Two or three tenths” are what Mercedes needs to compete for victories
“I’ve always thought that we can win races this season, and that’s very much the mindset of the team.” Shovlin told The GoF1Show.
“The development rate that has seen us go from being somewhere in the mid-pack to now nipping at the heels of Red Bull and Ferrari in recent races, over time that should see us catch up.
“We’re not quick enough at the moment. We need another two or three tenths over and above what they can bring, and we’re just focused on closing that gap.
“As soon as you’ve got a car that’s there or thereabouts, then race wins will come.”
Shovlin highlights a Mercedes improvement
Shovlin praised the beneficial benefits the car’s latest improvements had on speed as Mercedes’ competitive performance at Silverstone coincided with the delivery of a significant upgrade package for the W13, which included changes to the floor, rear wing, sidepods, and front suspension.
“Early on in the year, we were very much racing and qualifying in midfield,” said Shovlin.
“To get to where we have, we’ve shown good development, and the most encouraging thing is that we’re understanding how to develop within these regulations.
“The update kit we brought to Silverstone delivered what we’d expected, but the confidence in just developing a kit and bolting it on the car and seeing the performance has widened a bit with [2022’s new technical] rules.
“We’ve had lots of years where we could just do that, but the really encouraging thing in Silverstone was to see that kit deliver the performance.”
F1, F1 2022, Formula 1, French GP, Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Silver Arrows, Toto Wolff