Mercedes to take a ‘chainsaw’ to the W13 to reduce drag

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton leads George Russell. Bahrain March 2022

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton leads his team-mate George Russell, both on the soft Pirelli tyres. Bahrain March 2022

Conceding the Mercedes W13 had suffered with too much drag in Bahrain, Toto Wolff says they will “simply take a chainsaw” to it to solve the problem before Jeddah.

Mercedes grabbed a fortuitous podium at the Bahrain Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton crossing the line in third place after both Red Bull drivers had retired late in the grand prix with fuel pump issues.

George Russell was P4 as he started his first full season in Mercedes colours.

But while it was a good result for Mercedes, the Brackley squad was never in the mix for the race win.

Not only was the W13 suffering with extreme ‘porpoising’ but Wolff says it also had too much drag.

After the team had qualified fifth and sixth in Saturday night’s qualifying, he explained: “I think we are running more drag, or we have the data that we are running more drag than anyone else.

“We can see we are losing on the main straight but not so much on all the other ones, so we need to make an assessment after the first couple of races to see if we are lacking power or deployment before we point fingers into some of the areas.”

He added: “Realistically, it’s about half a second we are missing on a single lap.”

That continued in Sunday’s grand prix when again drag cost Mercedes, especially down the straights.

“I think we were probably over-winged,” Wolff told Sky F1. “We had too much drag and that’s just because we are lacking parts at the moment and hopefully we can remedy that.

“It’s half or a little bit more maybe of the top-speed advantage, but we need to really leave no stone unturned on the power unit side.”

He went on to explain how, in simple terms, Mercedes can fix that issue.

“It’s easier to shed drag off the car because you simply take a chainsaw and cut the rear wing to bits, and so that’s what we will do for Jeddah,” said Wolff.

Despite Mercedes’ pre-season fears, the Brackley squad left Bahrain second in the Constructors’ Championship behind Ferrari.

The Scuderia claimed the 1-2 but it is fair to say Max Verstappen at least would have beaten the Mercedes drivers had he not suffered a DNF.

 

Wolff conceded: “I think at the moment we are five and six, third on the road. We are trying to recover ground but it won’t come from one day to the other.”

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