Mercedes ‘planning new rear wing for Melbourne’

Jamie Woodhouse
The Mercedes W13 in action from behind. Saudi Arabia March 2022.

Rear shot of the Mercedes W13 in action. Saudi Arabia March 2022.

Mercedes will reportedly take a new rear wing to the Australian Grand Prix as their quest to unlock the W13’s performance continues.

The opening two rounds of the 2022 season have not been positive for Mercedes, who at both the Bahrain and Saudi Arabian GPs were unable to contend with the pace of leading duo Ferrari and Red Bull.

Saudi Arabia was the greater concern as despite moving to a smoother track, which Mercedes had hoped could alleviate their issues with bouncing, it in fact had no impact.

“We assumed the bouncing would be less in Jeddah because the track is flatter,” a Mercedes engineer told Auto Motor und Sport.

“We were wrong about that. We still don’t fully understand what factors trigger the phenomenon. It’s a constant learning process.”

Lewis Hamilton ahead of Kevin Magnussen during the Saudi Arabian GP. Jeddah March 2022.
Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes ahead of Kevin Magnussen's Haas during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Jeddah March 2022.

Lewis Hamilton suffered a shock elimination in Q1, while his team-mate George Russell went on to qualify P6, pipped to P5 by Alpine’s Esteban Ocon.

The engineer explained “the differences in the set-up were minimal”, so it was simply a case of Russell nailing the W13’s narrow window while Hamilton was wide of the mark.

But another major concern for Mercedes, alongside the bouncing, has been their high-speed performance.

Auto Motor und Sport report the Silver Arrows were up to 11kmh down on Red Bull on the straights, while in turns five to nine and 15, they were 15 to 20kmh down on Ferrari.

Mercedes though are not identifying the power unit as a clear weakness, believing that counts for “a maximum of one to two tenths in the lap time”. Instead, they believe their high-speed deficit is more down to drag.

Auto Motor und Sport state Mercedes will introduce an upgraded rear wing for the upcoming Australian Grand Prix, which will look to make inroads into fixing that issue.


It was put to a Mercedes engineer that having run the smallest rear wing in Jeddah, combined with a W13 that uses its ‘zero-pod’ design, it was hard to believe the car could be creating such a great deal of air resistance.

“Don’t look at the surface of the car and the rear wing flap,” responded the engineer.

“That’s misleading. Drag is mainly generated by the rear wing skin blade and the rear underwing. And that’s where we are way up.”

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff was keen not to predict where the team’s development work could lead them to in terms of improvement in the coming races.

Instead, he said the team would not fall into a “trap” by predicting where they will be come the summer.

“The gap we have you don’t make up by the next race,” he said.

“We have to work forward and protect the rear and not fall into the trap of making predictions today about where we might be in the summer.”


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