Wolff pins hopes on back-to-back car upgrades
"This situation is definitely not the fault of the drivers"
Mercedes hopes back-to-back car upgrades at the next two grands prix will help cure the terminal ’porpoising’ issue that has derailed the reigning constructors’ world champions 2022 season so far.
Seven time world champion Lewis Hamilton admits the issue is a fundamental one for the German team.
"I remember being asked in the winter if we made a mistake," he said. "I said at the time ’We don’t make mistakes’ but maybe we did after all."
Hamilton agrees, however, that if Mercedes can kick the porpoising, "we will unlock the potential of the car".
Team boss Toto Wolff publicly apologised to Hamilton for the car supplied to him after the chequered flag at Imola, while George Russell revealed the extent of the problem.
"Hips, back, chest," said the young Briton when asked if the aerodynamic ’ground effect’ bouncing is taking a physical toll.
"But if we make the car any higher, we lose even more time."
Russell has looked more competitive than Hamilton in the W13 so far this year, and Wolff says he has been "deeply impressed" with the 24-year-old in his first full season for the team.
"The cooperation of our drivers is one of the few highlights of this season," said Wolff. "There is no tension, just productive work.
"This situation is definitely not the fault of the drivers. Lewis is the best driver in the world, he just doesn’t have the car to show that at the moment. And then it doesn’t matter if he finishes eighth or thirteenth.
"But we’re talking about a seven-time world champion here," the Austrian added. "I don’t know any of the great drivers who didn’t have a difficult phase. He will help us work our way out of this."
The first fruits of those efforts will be seen in Miami this weekend with a minor update, ahead of a bigger one in Barcelona a fortnight later.
"We’ll try something in Miami and then again in Barcelona," Wolff confirmed.
He is most hopeful about the Barcelona developments.
"We had much less bouncing with our presentation model in the winter than the second specification that we then took to Bahrain," said Wolff. "The data comparison between the two cars should bring us a step further."