Red Bull advisor Dr. Helmut Marko says he is “fully convinced” Mercedes will be back in the fight if they solve their porpoising issues.
2022 didn’t start well for Mercedes, as the team has been struggling with their car’s performance under the new Formula 1 technical regulations.
The main issue they are facing is the porpoising, which doesn’t allow the car to be run closer to the ground, leading to a loss of downforce.
Red Bull’s advisor Dr. Helmut Marko was asked if Red Bull was facing similar issues when the rules changed in 2014.
“You have to distinguish between the two,” the Austrian told Formel1.de.
“The era after 2013 was determined by the new engine regulations, and Mercedes had an incredible dominance in this field.
“They were up to two seconds ahead of everyone, but logically didn’t show it. Now with the change of chassis, and engine-wise, the differences are not so big.
“Mercedes is no longer able to turn a knob and immediately stage a party. But the team is broadly positioned and it is also staffed with really top people in the chassis area.
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“I’m fully convinced they’ll be back if they get the bouncing under control. And Lewis Hamilton is nine points behind Verstappen, so that’s nothing either.
“I don’t think it’s an end [of the ‘Mercedes era’], but maybe it’s a fight on the same level.”
Mercedes’ engine is also thought to be lagging a bit, and Marko thinks this might have to do with F1’s switch to a 10% biofuel.
He adds that the fact that some of Mercedes’ engine staff left to work at Red Bull’s new engine factory could also be causing issues for the team.
“I don’t know exactly why Mercedes has fallen behind. It must surely have something to do with the increase in synthetic fuel, which went from five to 10%.
“It wasn’t a cinch for us, and not everything is the same. But of course, we don’t have this detailed knowledge of the Mercedes. Logic points to an explanation being connected with the fuel.
“And of course, when you have such a bloodletting, first of all [former Mercedes High Performance Powertrains boss] Andy Cowell [leaving the team], and then a good 50 people who are gone, the impact would actually be quite normal,” Marko concluded.