Mercedes messed up the start of the season. In the coming weeks, the ailing W13 will be upgraded. First in Miami. The design of the front wing, rear wing and beam wing has changed.
Mercedes is far behind its own standards. In four races there was no win, no pole position and only two podium places. Ferrari and Red Bull outperform the Silver Arrows both in qualifying and in the race. Mercedes is third in the Constructors' World Championship with 77 points. But at least on one lap Mercedes does not have the third fastest car in the field.
Instead of fighting for victories with the top teams, the constructor subscription world champion is fighting with McLaren, Alfa Romeo, Alpine, Haas and Alpha Tauri. Imola was the low point. Both drivers out in Q2. No points in the sprint. A fourth place in the race from George Russell thanks to an outstanding starting lap and a 13th from Lewis Hamilton who starved to death on the DRS train.
Mercedes with experiments
The lights should never go out in Brackley. The engineering department is working feverishly to teach the W13 to race. The first significant changes to the Silver Arrow will be seen at the fifth race of the season in Miami. The car with starting numbers 44 and 63 has a new front wing with a modified upper flap, a rear wing that is now straight instead of wavy, and a new beam wing. This is the lower rear wing. For Mercedes, it's about increasing the efficiency of the package and improving performance in corners and on straights (air resistance).
In addition, the silver arrow is undergoing another weight cure. That was already the case in Imola two weeks ago. Mercedes started the season about 15 kilos overweight. In Imola, there was talk of a weight loss of around five kilograms in the paddock. The one in Miami isn't that high. But the biggest problem is another. And to solve that, Mercedes wants to carry out some experiments in the training sessions. Bouncing on the straights slows you down. The team does not reveal any details. But of course: It's about the underbody and the sensitive flow culture. Mercedes has to prevent the underbody from sucking too much onto the asphalt and then jumping.
First and foremost, according to Mercedes, the upgrades and experiments are about comparing the tools in the factory and the results on the racetrack. What the paper promises should also arrive on the track. Team boss Toto Wolff: "Since our return from Italy we have learned as much as possible from the weekend, and at the same time we have gained further insights in the wind tunnel and in simulations. We have found several ways to improve the car."
Humor at Mercedes
It's not easy for Mercedes. The regulations restrict work in the wind tunnel and CFD most for the world champion team. If the changes in Miami don't bear fruit, that doesn't mean that the still young season is already over. You have several plans for further changes in the drawers. But it would be a damper. Mercedes has not lost its sense of humor in times of crisis. When asked what lap times can be expected in Miami, team manager Ron Meadows replies: "Probably slower in reality than the simulations predict." That was the theme of the season: On paper, the W13 is said to be significantly faster than it is in reality.