Brundle: Mercedes cannot get a handle on ground effect cars

Brundle: Mercedes cannot get a handle on ground effect cars

Brundle: Mercedes cannot get a handle on ground effect cars

Martin Brundle, former Formula 1 driver turned pundit, gave a damning verdict on Mercedes’ ongoing struggles claiming they simply can’t get a handle on the current crop of F1 cars.

Already in the third year of the current F1 regulations and Mercedes are yet to find their way out the of the pit they have been in since 2022 as their third ground-effects car turns out to be another ill-conceived machine from Brackley.

While Mercedes have finally ditched their zero sidepod concept, their W15 has failed to deliver so far despite early positive soundbites about the new Silver and Black arrow.

Lewis Hamilton was even praising the car at the start of the weekend of the Japanese Grand Prix only to end up seventh in qualifying, ninth in the race.

Reflecting on Mercedes’ fortunes and speaking in the latest episode of the Sky Sports F1 Podcast, Brundle said: “They’ve got to understand this car and I think that’s a grave concern for all of the people there.

“There’s a lot of very clever people, with a huge amount of resource, performance tools and budget. I’m not going to try and second guess what’s wrong with it, or state what I think is wrong with it, because if they don’t know, then I certainly don’t know.

Mercedes’ clever people can’t correlate with the stopwatch

“They cannot get a handle on these ground-effect cars,” Brundle went further. “This is the third season of these regulations. They turn up, they think they have aced it, a lot of positive noises, and then it still bounces a little bit with the porpoising.

“But their problem is, from time to time, the thing performs beautifully and they are really quite fast in phases. But, they can’t seem to reproduce that session to session, let alone day to day, let alone Grand Prix to Grand Prix.

“This is the problem they have got – this knife edge of a car that sometimes looks like they have finally sorted it and more of the time they just can’t understand it.

“When you’ve got that, when all of your tools and all your clever people don’t correlate with the stopwatch and the performance of other cars on the track, and you can’t seem to nail it down, then that’s really frustrating and I would say very worrying,” Brundle explained.

Mercedes have recently been a shadow of their former dominant self that had the F1 Championship in their stranglehold between 2014 and 2020.

They failed to win a race in 2023 and just beat Ferrari for second in that year’s F1 Constructors’ Championship, while their 2024 campaign has been depressing so far which makes them far from being an attractive prospect for drivers as they look to replace the Maranello-bound Lewis Hamilton.