Mercedes: “We will be in a very strong place next year”

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Mercedes’ Motorsport Strategy Director James Vowles says the team can’t “state that we know everything about the W13”, but they “made huge amounts of progress”.

Mercedes has been struggling with its 2022 car for most of the year, but in the second half of the season, the performance started improving.

Despite this, James Vowles says it would be wrong to say that the team now fully understands the W13.

“I don’t think you can truly now, or even across the winter, state that we know everything about the W13,” the Briton said.

“There have been some ups and downs, very much so, and that’s the part of what I meant by this car has items that we believe we understand and some of them that still not fully explained as a result of that.

“But if you look at the direction moving forward, the gaps to the front, especially on race pace, we made huge amounts of progress and you only do that by understanding where your problems are, working on them and working as a team.”

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Vowles goes on to say that Mercedes has all the tools that they need to be able to improve for next year.

“The confidence we have is that we now have our tools, our wind tunnel tools, our development tools, our performance tools here in the organisation, producing performance which is more than our competitors, and it’s allowing us to move further forward relative to them.

“There is still a void though and Abu Dhabi really showed that. That has to be caught up across the winter and I think we have a very good process and system in place to do that.

“That development that you saw across the season will continue across the winter and I think we will be in a very strong place next year.”

Ultimately, Vowles believes Mercedes will be able to get back to their “winning ways” in 2023.

“We are a team that is used to success, used to winning, used to being at the front and we weren’t. And that really has changed the organisation for the positive.

“We are much better as a result of this and that’s the characters that have built and we have built ourselves as a result of that.

“It’s been challenging, there is no question about it. We were not in a position we were used to being in and you have to make sure that as a result of that you adapt to move forward – and we have.

“I think we proved compared to the beginning of the season relative to the end how much we moved forward.

“This team had to pull closer together than ever before. It’s very easy in these circumstances, in these difficult times to pull apart and we didn’t.

“The drivers pulled together, and I am confident we have the best driver line-up on the grid. We have two incredible drivers pushing each other but working as a team to make the car better.

“We have a team both in Brixworth and in Brackley, and at the track as well, all working together with just one goal in mind and that is not to win anymore necessarily.

“It is to make sure that we understand the package we have, so that we are back to our winning ways next year,” Vowles concluded.

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