How quickly things can change in the world of F1. Mercedes have gone from being on top of the world – and looking virtually unbeatable at times – to a dramatic defeat on the last day of the 2021 season, and now they are experiencing some serious car problems in 2022.
The form of the Mercedes team made them a lot of bookmakers’ favorites in previous races and seasons. If you had chosen a sportsbook through AZ sports betting, you may have found Mercedes at a short price for a lot of races but they have not performed as you would have expected.
So, what is going wrong for Mercedes and is there still a chance to turn it around?
In the early testing events before the season started, Hamilton controversially said that he did not expect to be in a position to try and win the championship. As always, there was a lot of discussion about Hamilton’s comments. Was he trying to stir the pot or be controversial?
His statement proved that Hamilton had a point. The car is not ready to win the championship. The first two races have shown that the car is going to need more than just a few tweaks to be competitive.
The start of the season
The first race of the season wasn’t a total disaster, of course. Red Bull had problems of their own, with a double DNF in the Bahrain curtain-raiser. Hamilton managed to finish third in that race, which certainly isn’t terminal to his chances.
A 10th place finish in Saudi Arabia was more of a concern, though, and seems to highlight some issues with the vehicle that aren’t going to be a quick fix. Hamilton has since reiterated his stance and opinions about the car.
The issues with the Mercedes W13
If you have been following Formula 1 this year, you might have heard the term “porpoising”, and not fully understood what it means.
Porpoising is the name given to the odd phenomenon that sees a vehicle bounce up and down on its suspension when driving at top speed. Mercedes just don’t seem like they have a plan for this issue with their new cars, while the other manufacturers and teams have their own methods of dealing with it.
Porpoising has a lot of different effects on the car and driver. It adds to the drag of the car and of course this means that the car isn’t quite as quick as it could be when at full throttle on the straights of any track. The car may also have braking issues and this can make the tires degrade much more rapidly, leading to more stops and changes.
New rules have created big challenges for F1 teams
Every team has had to deal with these challenges, and the truth is that Mercedes have just not had the same sort of plan that the likes of Ferrari have. Of course, we also know about the issues Red Bull has had, but porpoising isn’t what is holding them back.
Hamilton has been critical over more than just porpoising, as Mercedes have made quite a heavy car. It’s actually over this year’s limit when it comes to weight, not making the 798 kg grade. Of course, the goal is usually to create a lightweight car that can fly around the track at high speed.
All of these issues have been evident in the races we’ve already seen, and if you listen to what Hamilton and new teammate George Russell have said about the car, you’ll be worried about what the season has in store. The drivers have not been making positive noises about their chances.
Is the season done for Mercedes?
Of course, this doesn’t necessarily spell the end for Mercedes. This is one of the things we all love about Formula One. Not only is it unpredictable but the teams can continue to make tweaks, and should Mercedes find a way to help their drivers and prevent the problems with porpoising then there is every chance that they will continue to pose a threat.
It’s very early in the season, and there is plenty of opportunity for the Mercedes team to make a spectacular comeback – last season showed that you should never take anything for granted in Formula One.