Mercedes reveals the W13’s “particularly annoying” characteristic

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

Mercedes’ Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin reveals a “particularly annoying” characteristic of the team’s 2022 car.

While Mercedes has been very much struggling with its car in the early part of the 2022 season, the last few races have been very successful for the team.

Andrew Shovlin says Mercedes’ recent success has been important for the team to better understand their car.

“It is useful,” the Briton said.

“And this car has been particularly annoying in the way it gives you glimpses of performance and what might be, to a level that it’s very difficult for us just to give up on it. So it sucks you in a bit, from an engineering point of view.

“It has been a tricky car. And certainly some of the issue is just that we haven’t got enough downforce, we need to find more downforce, and find a bit more power. But overall it is a useful sign that we’re going in the right direction.

“The double podium, the pole position, they’re all things that we could have only dreamed of earlier in the year. And that’s encouraging, that we do seem to be making progress.”

Shovlin also revealed they are not thinking of moving away from their ‘minimal sidepods’ design.

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“I think it has been useful to see that this narrow bodywork car can perform well, in races.

“This is certainly the thing for us to take as a foundation for development. We will be more effective if we work with what we’ve got than try and hop to someone else’s design.

“But the sidepods are probably a bit of a distraction from the overall issues that we’ve had to fix. If you think it’s only three races ago we were bouncing around all over the place in Montreal, Baku, Monaco.

“Now the drivers are getting out and if they talk about bouncing, it’s because they had a little bit of it in one corner at one point.

“It’s almost notable by its absence. And we’ve been able to apply those improvements to the current package, which is a good sign.”

Shovlin then admitted the team is not yet sure how George Russell managed to snatch pole at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

“One of the things that changed was the drivers suddenly found the confidence in the car that they were lacking.

“So previously in qualifying they always said as soon as you really lean on the rear, it just doesn’t give you the feeling that it’s going to stick, it just feels like it’s going to go away from you.

“We haven’t really seen our two putting in those sort of blinding laps until George got it on pole. And that might be something that we’ve improved. And there are some changes on the car that may have done that.

“The team did a good job of getting everything in the in the right window. But the honest answer is we don’t really know how we got pole.”

The Briton also said that the knowledge the team gained in Hungary can be carried over to the next races.

“To be honest, that’s the general process of engineering an F1 car is that every race, we’re learning, and at the end of the year, we sort of tend to write it all down in one place.

“And it’s impressive that even after 20 races, you’re still finding out things. So I’m sure that there’ll be bits that we can take.

“But if you look at it, statistically, are we going to suddenly be landing it in that window at every track, that might be a tall order,” Shovlin concluded.

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