Mercedes: It could take up to five months to sort set-up issues


Mercedes says it could take up to half of the 2022 F1 season for it to understand its W13 car

George Russell, Bahrain F1 testing 2022

Russell says Mercedes is still up against it heading into the first race of the 2022 F1 season

Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Mercedes believes it might take up to five months for it to fully understand its 2022 Formula 1 car.

Following preseason testing, both Mercedes drivers admitted that it would be tough to fight for the win on the opening race weekend of the season.

In the week since, it has struggled to fix set-up issues with the W13 according to George Russell. Porpoising was a particularly big issue during winter testing and the problems were occurring with the W13 on the final day of preseason.

Speaking ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix, Russell said that there were no quick fixes to the problems it has been facing and that the assessment of its chances hadn’t changed in the week since testing ended.

“I think we aren’t where we want to be. We are continuously trying things. But we don’t have a silver bullet at the moment that we think is absolutely going to clear our problems but equally, we don’t know.

“The thing we try this afternoon might just be the thing that needs to be done to solve the issue. Or this might be you know, another three, four or five months of work to truly understand this. And it’s always difficult during practice sessions.

Related article

“You can’t try a million things at once, you have to do it analytically. So fingers crossed we get it right sooner or later.”

Mercedes finished winter testing fourth-fastest with Russell at the wheel on the final day, but lagged a whole second behind Max Verstappen’s session-topping effort.

While Russell admits the team might not have the ideal set-up for the car figured out, it could still fight for victories, though not on outright performance.

“I think fighting for victories and winning on merit are two different things,” Russell said in the Friday press conference. “We saw it last year, Mercedes won the race but they qualified second four times behind the Red Bull and Max and they were far behind Red Bull, but they did things right on the day and they came away with the victory.

“Even so, I think we’ll be in the mix and there’s no reason why if we don’t do everything right, get the strategy right and make a good start that we couldn’t hold off a faster car.”

There will be no major upgrades from testing according to Lewis Hamilton, who said that the team had turned up with the same specification from testing.

The seven-time champion said that the team now had a better understanding of the issues it was facing but was expecting no miracles on the opening weekend of the campaign.

“I don’t expect that we’ve made a huge progress,” Hamilton said. “The car naturally was fresher, you come into a test you have a new engine, you have new components, but it is still the car from last week.

“We obviously have learned a lot from the the week of testing here and I hope that we have taken some sort of step forwards in terms of understanding of how we position the car, but we will find out.”