Top 3 real reasons why Mercedes might continue to struggle this season

F1 Grand Prix of Emilia Romagna
F1 Grand Prix of Emilia Romagna
Charanjot Singh

It is no secret that Mercedes does not have the best machinery on the grid this season. The German team has been usurped by the likes of Red Bull and Ferrari in 2022, as their car is just not in the same league as those teams. In the wet weather conditions at the Imola Grand Prix, Mercedes was more than a second slower than the front-runners. The gap remained somewhat similar throughout the weekend.

Nevertheless, it is expected that Mercedes will be able to turn things around and still fight at the front this season. Having said that, there are numerous reasons to believe that this might not be the case. There might be a scenario where Mercedes is stuck in this space, where it is just clear of the midfield and yet, slower than the Red Bulls and Ferraris.

From what we can see here, there is a very high possibility that Mercedes will not join the fight at the front and will continue to be a midfield team this season. In this piece, we will look at three such reasons as to why Mercedes might continue to further struggle this season.

#1 The no-sidepod concept is probably wrong

🗣️| Guenther Steiner on Mercedes' sidepod concept: "Exactly this concept was our first draft. We had it in the wind tunnel last July and already realized that it brings advantages in slow corners. As an overall package, however, we saw greater potential in wide sidepods." #F1

The German team's no-sidepod concept makes the car stick out like a sore thumb. While every other team has gone for wider sidepods, Mercedes has opted to try out something completely left-field.

While the concept apparently had been giving positive readings in the simulator, its performance on track is another story. The car has extreme porpoising issues and to make matters worse, the new E10 fuel might just have proven to be counter-productive for the team, as it appears to trail the other teams when it comes to peak power.

While Mercedes has been devoting extensive time to understand the car and the issues that are present, there might be the possibility that the design philosophy employed by the team simply might not be optimal for the new regulations.

#2 The cost cap holds Mercedes back

The #F1 cost cap has been credited with securing the future of several teams. But, at the same time, the introduction of a $200m fee for any new operation joining the grid has seemingly robbed the series of one of its most interesting…

The bigger worry for the German team is the presence of the cost-cap era. While, in the past, Mercedes might have been able to put its extensive workforce and resources to use and find a solution to its problems, with the new regulations, it simply does not have that freedom.

There is a limited budget within which the team has to work and find solutions for the car. As a result, the team cannot afford to go berserk and try fifty different solutions hoping that one of them might stick. It needs to be cautious in the way it approaches this problem and tries to find a solution. Because of this, the lead time that could have been much less in the pre-cost cap era is going to be much larger in the current set of regulations.

#3 The limited wind tunnel time is a massive handicap for the team

🚨AERO TESTING SCALE🚨#F1’s first ‘sliding scale’ on aerodynamic development means teams who finished lower down in the championship will be able to perform more wind tunnel runs than teams on top

What compounds the problems for the German team is the fact that because it won the championship last season, it has much less wind tunnel time this year. Its rivals Ferrari and Red Bull, the two teams that are ahead of the German outfit, have more wind tunnel time allotted to them.

While Mercedes tries to understand its issues, both Red Bull and Ferrari will be utilizing their wind tunnel time, which is already more than what the German team is allowed, to improve their cars.

Does it seem like a safe bet that a team already one second faster with more wind tunnel time will be able to stretch its legs while the team that is already slower and seems to lack the understanding of its new car will find it hard to catch up? The odds are stacked against the reigning constructor champions.

Can they bounce back and join the fight at the front? They can, but at the moment, this looks highly unlikely.

What's your favorite race of the 2022 season so far? Tell us in the comments below..

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Edited by Anmol Gandhi


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