Vowles says Mercedes can “fight for a championship” with their car now

© Jiri Krenek for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Mercedes’ Motorsport Strategy Director James Vowles says Mercedes’ car is “within touching distance of the front”, but warns “it would be wrong to say” that porpoising is gone.

The upgrades that Mercedes brought to the Spanish Grand Prix have largely reduced the porpoising issue that their car has been suffering from in 2022.

However, in the team’s race debrief, James Vowles said the issue is not completely solved.

“We’ve had one race out of six where the car has been well behaved,” the Briton said.

“It was a car that really was a proper racing car for once.  We could set it up, we could tune it, we could play around with the settings and it would respond in a way that was predictable.

“And the same couldn’t be said for the car that we had for the first five races of the season.

“However, we have to temper our expectations. It’s one track and a track that has suited our car for many years prior to this one.

“There is a lot for us to understand and learn. I think it would be wrong to say that the porpoising issue has disappeared.

“I think you still see it on our competitors and I am sure there will be elements of it coming back again as we build on our understanding and the foundations that we laid down in Barcelona.”

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Vowles went on to say the upcoming races are going to be difficult, but also added Mercedes’ car is now capable of challenging the frontrunners.

“What I can say is we made a definitive step, a step in our understanding and the deployment of what we put on track.

“And we can build on that, and the same could not be said about the first five races with the car that we had there.

“We will move forward from where we are now but it will be a journey, it is not going to happen overnight.

“And we’ve got difficult tracks coming up, we’ve got Monaco and Baku which will throw up their own challenges and surprises.

“The difference now though is we have a car that is within touching distance of the front and a car that we can fight for a championship with,” Vowles concluded.

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