ESPN on whether Mercedes can “kickstart its season” in Spain

© Jiri Krenek for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

ESPN F1 Editor Laurence Edmondson takes a look at Mercedes’ quest to solve their issues, but warns not to expect a “quick fix” in Barcelona.

In his column on ESPN’s website, Laurence Edmondson took a closer look at Mercedes’ current issues with porpoising.

“As of Miami, Mercedes had not been able to model the porpoising issue in either the wind tunnel or CFD,” Edmondson wrote.

“As a result, it has had to do all its learning on the track in practice sessions, qualifying and the races.

“The inability to simulate the issue has slowed the process of finding a fix and forced the team to become more and more experimental with its solutions during race weekends.

“Often the team will chase a setup in the hope of solution, only to find itself back at square one and a little further from the front or the grid.

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“In theory, each race should lead to a greater understanding of the issue, which in turn will lead to a solution, but it doesn’t necessarily mean a quick fix will come with the next round of upgrades in Spain.”

Edmondson went on to highlight how even when Mercedes ran their old spec car at the Barcelona pre-season test, it was also experiencing porpoising.

“The upcoming race in Barcelona should help further Mercedes understanding as the team also has reams of comparative data from pre-season testing at the same circuit.

“At the opening test of 2022 in February, Mercedes had not yet introduced its radical “zero sidepod” design, although it was still suffering with porpoising with the more conventional launch-specification version of its car.”

Ultimately, Edmondson warned that Mercedes’ issues are not only impacting their 2022 season, but could also determine how the team moves forward into 2023.

“Mercedes’ lack of performance is not only raising questions over the design of this year’s car but also next year’s.

“The development of the 2023 car is already underway and the team must make a decision over whether to continue with its current aerodynamic concept or start afresh.

“Trying to copy the design concept of frontrunners Red Bull or Ferrari may sound appealing, but it’s unlikely Mercedes would leapfrog its rivals by doing so as it would be starting from zero whereas they would have over a year of understanding.

“What’s more, Mercedes engineers are wary of ditching one concept without fully understanding the reasons for its shortcomings, as it may simply lead to a copy and paste of the same issues over to a new concept,” Edmondson concluded.

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