Mercedes has found ‘big chunk of performance’

George Russell

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes his team has found a “big chunk of performance” with its difficult 2022 Formula 1 car.

The W13 has seen the squad drop to third place in the pecking order behind Red Bull and Ferrari after eight consecutive constructors’ championship wins.

Yet to record a victory, Mercedes’ highlights have been pole position at the Hungarian Grand Prix courtesy of George Russell and three second places – two for Lewis Hamilton and one for Russell.

The pair recorded the team’s first double-podium of the year in France, repeating that in Hungary next time out.

There has been a general uptick in performance from the Brackley operation as the season has worn on as it gained a firmer grip on its car.

Porpoising blighted its early potential, forcing the team to raise the ride height and compromise the grip the car developed close to the ground.

It also had a narrow operating window, proving itself as more of a race car than possessing outright pace over a single lap.

The comparative lack of pace prompted questions about whether the concept underpinning the car.

It was a point Wolff conceded the team had considered, but added that it couldn’t simply turn its back on the troublesome W13 without understanding the issues in case it replaced them on the next design.

However, since then, improved results have followed and the squad has made ground towards the leading two teams.

“To turn the ship in this industry is a little bit like an oil tanker,” he explained.

“First you have to understand what the root cause is for your non-performance and then you have to peel the skin, the various skins off, you know what’s the first layer? What is the second layer? Are we really, are we really on top of all the questions?

“And the answer is no, we are not, but I think a big chunk of the performance that we are missing, we have discovered.

“It’s not something we can change this year, it’s decisions that we have made for next year, but I am not 100 percent confident to say here ‘well, next year, we will be fighting for a world championship.’

“The aim is, the expectation is, but there’s still work to do.”

Mercedes cannot fall lower than third in this year’s constructors’ championship but could climb as high as second should results fall its way.

Ferrari currently occupies that spot with 454 points, 67 clear of Mercedes with four races remaining.

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