Mercedes have struggled with their newly designed W13 since the start of the 2022 championship. The main concern for the Silver Arrows was porpoising, which restricted them from battling with the frontrunners. The eight-time straight constructors’ champions since 2014 are currently only the third-fastest team across the grid. However, the Silver Arrows seem to be getting back in their grove. The Mercedes drivers have secured a podium in the last four races. However, they still have quite some gap between competing for a race win. Although, Lewis Hamilton, who had not won a podium this year since Bahrain, has now clinched three of them in Canada, Silverstone, and Austria.
Seeing the performance, the Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff claimed his team would have been capable of matching Max Verstappen’s pace in Austria. However, unfortunately, both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell crashed in Friday qualifying. Hence, the engineers had to work overnight on the cars to make them drivable again. Despite crashing during qualifying, the German outfit secured third and a fourth-place finish at the Red Bull Ring.
Talking after the Austrian GP, Wolff said the Silver Arrows were missing a few tenths here and there. Although the Mercedes boss pointed out that his team had halved the gap to the frontrunners in the last few months. According to Toto, his team understood the car better but were still third and fourth. “We’re somewhere right in the middle of nowhere,” he added.
The former Austrian driver further revealed that the qualifying crashes made things worse for the team. Wolff suggested that even though the engineers got the setup and the measurements right, the car could still behave inappropriately right away. Not just that, Toto felt that the Silver Arrows would have been able to put Max Verstappen under pressure with their pace if they had finished in the top six. He revealed that there were some fast corners and a smooth layout, similar to Silverstone. “So it appears at least on paper, that we can perform better well there,” Wolff added.
Wolff Believes The Technical Driver Will Bring Mercedes Back At Front
Porpoising has been a concern for Mercedes. However, several drivers complained about the trouble caused by the bouncing in Monza. Hence, the FIA introduced a new technical directive to restrict the vertical oscillations and the plank wear limit. Wolff told that some teams found a loophole to the planks below the car, allowing them to cope with bouncing better.
The Mercedes boss claimed that some teams had a board that fell off or wore off when the car hit the ground. He pointed out that plank was needed to reduce the wear and tear of the floor. And if the blank disappeared below the car, it would be against the regulations. He also cleared that the wobbling board moves more than the tolerance level, which is around 2mm. Wolff concluded, “Even if a board moves several millimeters, it is obvious that you gain in performance too.