Mercedes pair Andrew Shovlin and James Vowles talk about their moments from 2022 F1 season as highlights and ones they admire the most.
For Mercedes, it was a challenging season to say the least, only one win and the first ever winless season for Lewis Hamilton. In the end, it somewhat came good as they narrowly missed out on runner up in the constructors’ title race but they have sown the seeds for 2023 and potentially could be the team to take it to Red Bull.
It was a remarkably consistent season however with so many podiums and once they got the dreaded porpoising right, they also got their mojo back too hence their results. Their day of days of course was the 1-2 in Brazil with George Russell leading home Hamilton. However, it took a while to get there and surprising it was not the highlight of the season for some people in terms of races which stood out.
So many issues during the campaign with the porpoising maladies and the W13 itself, trackside director Andrew Shovlin picks Barcelona as his highlight. “Probably the one that will stick in the mind of the engineers is Barcelona,” he said. “That was the one where we made the biggest step in getting on top of the aero bouncing phenomenon”.
“We were able to have pretty good performance but also it allowed us to see that once we’d solved that issue there was still other issues to solve with the ride of the car, it wasn’t very good over the bumps and it gave us the clarity to work on those next steps. Whilst it was only a small step in the right direction from a learning point of view it was a really important update,” summed up Shovlin.
The Mercedes chief was looking at it from a morale boosting viewpoint possibly, but it really did assist the team in the long run. Brazil was still of course their most successful event but from a team spirit perspective, Shovlin also gives due consideration to the Austrian GP where the team were really up against it for one reason or another.
“We had crashed both cars in qualifying, it was a sprint race, we didn’t have any spares of the floors and there was a massive amount of work that went on in the garage to try and get those cars ready to race the next day,” recalled Shovlin. “They were in pretty poor shape and we were actually making sections of the floor and having to bond it on”.
But a brilliant job by all the mechanics to get those ready and back out on the track the next day.” At the same time, Mercedes’s chief strategist James Vowles also looks back at the campaign with significant pride and shares his highlight”.
“I think my race would be probably be Austin,” said Vowles. “We brought a significant update and it was the culmination of many, many months of work before then. And as we discussed before the learning is probably the most important thing that we’ve done this year and that update really cemented it all together, brought it all together and whilst in Austin itself we perhaps weren’t on the leading edge that is what led to the Brazil win”.
“It also led towards the strong performance we had in Mexico and from there we can build onto next year so I think for me that really just represents a thousand people’s worth of work going into it, producing a fantastic update that moved us forward,” summed up Mercedes strategist.
There is no doubt about that Mercedes are on the way back up massively and it is very refreshing for all to see. They had a monopoly of success in the hybrid era and to an extent got caught napping early in 2022. Their season worked out well in the end and it would have been a crying shame if they had not got a win which they wanted more than a second place finish in the standings.
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Here’s Toto Wolff on 2021 emotions to 2022
Here’s Lewis Hamilton on no attitude change since 2021
Here’s James Vowles describing Mercedes’ 2022 in four words