Mercedes had no tools to solve the W13 problem faster

The Brackley-based team is still chasing its first F1 win this season, trailing Red Bull and Ferrari for much of the 2022 campaign.

His current challenger’s design has not proved ideal for the new ground effect rules, as he suffers from lack of performance, bouncing and poor handling.

In addition, the concept of producing the most downforce as close to the ground as possible does not seem to be the right direction to get the most out of today’s cars.

Mercedes thinks it has finally got to the bottom of what caused the problems, as work now focuses on ensuring its 2023 F1 car can get him back to the front.

But team boss Toto Wolff says time was lost early in the campaign as Mercedes found data coming out of the factory didn’t help unlock what had gone wrong with the W13 design.

“We lacked the tools, the simulations and the understanding to discover the problems we created with the way the car was developed,” Wolff explains.

“We couldn’t ride it where we wanted it to run aerodynamically, and mechanically it was never in the right place. It has taken us months to undo some of the steps we have taken.

“So it’s not like I believe we’ve discovered the Holy Grail and we understand everything and next year is going to be a blast.

“But this is a crucial period right now: literally in the next one to two months, we have to understand, with a degree of precision, what needs to be done for next year.”

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes AMG

Photo By: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

While Mercedes has still failed to secure that coveted W13 race win, the team believes the winter reset will allow the team to make much more progress than it did during the campaign.

Lewis Hamilton is confident that the lessons the team has learned this year, coupled with the feedback he is giving it, will help it take a good step forward for the W14.

“There is potential in the car,” said the seven-time world champion. “We have downforce, only in some places we can’t use it. And ride quality is, of course, an area that can always be improved. So I’m comfortable in the direction we’re going.

“I have 1000% confidence in the guys at the factory who are putting all these puzzle pieces together, and I have no doubt that we will be in a fighting position again next year.”

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Mercedes has not ruled out taking a different concept approach with its 2023 W14 car, but no final decision has been made on which direction it will go.

Trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said: “You would always say the fastest car is the one with the best concept, so you know, today it will be Red Bull. It’s hard to say where that will go next year.

“Certainly, as a team we have not yet determined what our car will look like. We are still exploring different concepts. And that process will continue for a while.

“But we’re just looking for what will give us the best development opportunities in those new regulations going forward.”