James Vowles describes the 2022 season of Mercedes in four words as he also expands on the competitiveness of the car in the last few rounds.

It took Mercedes 21 Grands Prix before they could see the chequered flag first in 2022.  The dominant team of the hybrid era underwent a challenging campaign in the season just gone while they did show a remarkable run of consistency late on. Indeed, they had been second in five Grands Prix prior to George Russell leading Lewis Hamilton home for a team 1-2 at Interlagos.

Mercedes as a team suffered more than most with the dreaded porpoising at the start of the season. A tremendous run of success and competitiveness followed in the mid part to seasons end. The season ending Abu Dhabi GP saw their season peter out with Hamilton suffering a mechanical failure and Russell take fifth place.

It was a shame as they had been in with a chance of taking runners up spot in the constructors’ championship and Russell also had a very outside chance of second in the drivers’ championship. Quite simply, they were not as a competitive in Abu Dhabi as they had been in Brazil.

The team chief strategist Vowles gives an in depth analysis of the way the weekend panned out. “I think you’ve probably heard Toto refer to the table of doom,” he said. “This is something that we have constructed internally that allows us to somewhat predict where our car will be relative to certainly the fastest cars track on track and it worked fairly well. It’s something that actually had fairly good correlation across the season and it did say that in for example Mexico and Brazil we would be significantly more competitive than we were going to be in Abu Dhabi”.

“It’s a function of the properties that make our car both strong and weak and that transpired to be true and as perhaps negative as it comes across that’s a very good thing because it means that the properties of our car that we understand we actually have a good grasp on them sufficiently so that they actually look to be real in real life and then the reasons behind it look to be correlated”.

“That obviously doesn’t answer the question as to why we weren’t as competitive. Part of it is that I think Ferrari moved backwards across Mexico and Brazil, hard to explain why, but they definitely weren’t as competitive there as they were towards the end of the season in Abu Dhabi. They were a fierce rival in Abu Dhabi, very, very quick on the straight line and competitive overall with good tyre degradation”.

“That doesn’t obviously explain Red Bull and why we moved back to them, but I think that is explained in the properties of where our car is weak and where it is strong and Brazil had a lot of cornering sequences, types of corners, speeds of corner that really suit the characteristics of our car which unfortunately we didn’t have in Abu Dhabi. The final one is Abu Dhabi is very, very cool conditions once we were really racing at night and we saw a few properties on the tyre a little bit of graining appearing on the front axle and on the rear axle and that for sure hurt us in the race,” summed up Vowles.

Considering where Mercedes were in the early stages of the season, they did remarkably well to turn it around. They were on the back foot for a large part of the campaign. As per above, they suffered with the dreaded porpoising more than most but turned around their campaign massively. The blue riband team of the Hybrid era saw their stock drop hugely in terms of wins and are fighting to return to the top next year.

A tough campaign which no doubt helped the operation take a good look at themselves. “I think my four words would be: Character building. Challenging. So that’s three of them. My fourth word would be: Teamwork. It’s been a difficult year. We are a team that is used to success, used to winning, used to being at the front and we weren’t,” said Vowles when asked to describe the year in four words.

“And that really has changed the organisation for the positive. We are much better as a result of this and that’s the characters that have built and we have built ourselves as a result of that. It’s been challenging, there is no question about it. We were not in a position we were used to being in and you have to make sure that as a result of that you adapt to move forward and we have.

“I think we proved compared to the beginning of the season relative to the end how much we moved forward but it’s probably the last word that is the most important to me. The teamwork. This team had to pull closer together than ever before. It’s very easy in these circumstances, in these difficult times to pull apart and we didn’t. The drivers pulled together, and I am confident we have the best driver line up on the grid. We have two incredible drivers pushing each other but working as a team to make the car better”.

“We have a team both in Brixworth and in Brackley and at the track as well all working together with just one goal in mind and that is not to win anymore necessarily, it is to make sure that we understand the package we have so that we are back to our winning ways next year,” summed up Mercedes strategy chief, Vowles.

Here’s Lewis Hamilton and George Russell’s earning

Here’s Lewis Hamilton on starting and ending 2022 in same way