Andrew Shovlin says Mercedes switched its focus of F1 2022 to that of learning relatively early in the year for a better 2023.
It wasn’t the start that reigning champions Mercedes were hoping for in 2022 under new regulations, as the porpoising trouble affected the balance of their car hugely. While they tried to understand the issues, Red Bull and Ferrari already were a step ahead.
Despite the lack of top pace from Mercedes end, they have been relatively reliable when compared to Red Bull and Ferrari. Additionally, they are a step ahead of the rest of field even though they have their own set of troubles to get through.
With all these issues, Mercedes decided relatively early to give up on the 2022 title hopes and work towards a better 2023, taking this year as a learning phase. The porpoising issue has lessened certainly but the performance has been up and down so far.
It is a lot dependent on the different types of circuit and Mercedes admit they were a bit overly optimistic about their chances at the start of the 2022 season. “Those lessons, that learning is all quite valuable and we like to keep that within the team,” said Shovlin. “It has been a very interesting journey, I think we were overly optimistic in where we thought we could run the car.
“The car that we launched had a lot of downforce close to the ground, and there were a lot of issues being able to actually run the car on track there. And I think that it’s no secret in the pit lane that people have been trying to get their cars further off the road, to try and make them better able to cope with bumps, and then to avoid them hitting the ground, where you lose a lot of the grip once it’s all going through the plank.
“But really just looking also at how the car is balanced through the speed range, through the different phases of the corner. And in general, we just haven’t had enough performance on it. It’s not just that where we had the downforce was in the wrong region, we’re just behind on performance. So, there’s a lot of areas that we’ve been working on.
“The focus this year, changed relatively early to one of learning, making sure we can get back to a competitive position for next year. And the signs that we’ve seen over the last six or seven races have been encouraging. We’re not where we would like to be – but the direction of travel looks okay, so we’re working very hard to try and improve that,” summed up Shovlin.
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