Formula 1’s managing director Ross Brawn does not believe that his former team Mercedes will be flummoxed by the new regulations permanently.
Mercedes put together a run which set new records in Formula 1, winning eight Constructors’ titles in succession from 2014-2021, while the Drivers’ title also went to a Mercedes driver in seven of those eight seasons, six to Lewis Hamilton and one to Nico Rosberg.
That run though will come to an end in 2022, with Red Bull well on their way to the Constructors’ crown, while Max Verstappen is on the verge of securing back-to-back titles.
Mercedes are yet to win a race in 2022, their fall from the summit coming after a major overhaul to the regulations, with the Silver Arrows P3 in the standings with six races to go. P2 remains possible as they hunt a Ferrari team that has been wasteful with their opportunities this season.
Brawn though, who is very satisfied with the impact of the new regulations, does not expect to see Mercedes out of the fight at the front for good.
Asked by F1-Insider.com for his verdict on the new rules which he was jointly responsible for creating, Brawn replied: “Basically, I am very satisfied.
“The cars can follow each other more closely and overtake better as a result. Side-by-side driving has also become easier. Before, not many people knew that a car also lost performance there. Pirelli has also contributed to the improvement. So, everything has worked well before [sic].
“The fact that some teams were able to implement the new rules better and the others are upset about it is Formula 1 folklore and was planned beforehand. It has hit Mercedes in particular. But they are not idiots, they will get it right.”
Mercedes poised to return to form in 2023
It can be a long road back for a team that has fallen down the pecking order in Formula 1 after a spell of dominance, just ask Red Bull, who having hoovered up all four Constructors’ and Drivers’ titles from 2010-13, suffered with the introduction of the V6 turbo-hybrid power units in 2014.
It was not until 2021 that Red Bull managed to put together a title challenge again, Verstappen winning the Drivers’ title that year, but Mercedes are showing signs that they will not need such an extended timeframe to push for silverware again.
Although the Silver Arrows have not won in 2022, the W13 is now in a position where it can put Lewis Hamilton and George Russell in that conversation at a venue which plays to its strengths.
Russell claimed his first career pole in Hungary, also Mercedes’ only pole of the season so far, while Hamilton could potentially have challenged for the win at Zandvoort with a better strategy from Mercedes.
With a winter where they can return to the drawing board, which may involve axing their unique ‘zero-pod’ concept, a team of Mercedes’ standard will surely have it in them to take the lessons learned in 2022 and use them to right the wrongs for their 2023 challenger.
The key then will be how much of a step forward both Red Bull and Ferrari are capable of making.