Sky F1 reporter Ted Kravitz believes Mercedes are stuck with their ‘porpoising’-related performance issues until the European phase of the season.
The Bahrain Grand Prix proved Mercedes were not bluffing about their problems at the start of the 2022 season.
Throughout testing, the eight-time Constructors’ champions had struggled to find a fix for their W13 bouncing down the straights, or ‘porpoising’ as it is termed, which meant Lewis Hamilton could manage only P5 on the grid in Bahrain, while team-mate George Russell started P9.
Ultimately, Mercedes did get a driver on the podium, Hamilton crossing the line P3 thanks to a double retirement for Red Bull, but for both pure one-lap and race pace, Mercedes were not in the same league as Red Bull or Ferrari.
It was Charles Leclerc who took the win in Bahrain, leading home a Ferrari one-two as Carlos Sainz claimed P2.
So when can Mercedes find a fix and look to latch on to that battle at the front? Well, according to Kravitz, the Silver Arrows do not currently have a remedy and are stuck with their problems for the following two rounds in Saudi Arabia and Australia.
And only after that do they have a chance to “sort themselves out”.
That’s 183 @F1 podiums for this man right here. 🤯
The record books still aren’t safe. 👊 pic.twitter.com/S30ig67byv
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) March 20, 2022
“A thought on how long it will take them to sort out their ‘porpoising’,” said Kravitz during his ‘Ted’s Notebook’ programme on Sky Sports F1.
“The first question, is it circuit dependent? The answer is no – they had it in Barcelona, they’ve got it here.
“So it’s not something circuit dependent. When they go to Jeddah, it will just be the same or worse.
“Question two, do they understand it fully yet? No, they don’t.
“Which leads on to question three – if they knew, if they understood it right now and how to fix it, how long would it take them to get the new parts to the track? Hypothetically, say they did, then the answer to that seems to be a couple of races.
“Whether it’s a new floor or something more than that, we don’t know.
“I think we are looking at the European season, which is after Australia, for them to get their act together at the earliest.
“I think they’ve got to live with it next week in Saudi Arabia definitely, and they’ve probably got to live with it in Albert Park.
“But apart from that, it will take at least Imola, the European season, for Mercedes to sort themselves out.”
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