Toto Wolff says another difficult weekend for Mercedes in Miami still gave them “answers and indications” about where to go with the W13.
And that the Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona, scene of the opening unofficial pre-season test, is an ideal place to now try out those potential solutions.
Although Mercedes finished a respectable fifth and sixth in Miami, not for the first time this season they scored more points than perhaps they should have done given their struggles with the car.
Wolff, however, still thinks the eight-time consecutive Constructors’ champions deserved to have only Ferrari and Red Bull ahead of them and that contrasting bouts of fortune had contributed to George Russell and Lewis Hamilton finishing P5 and P6 respectively.
That moment when you realise it's race week! 😁 Who’s excited? 🙌 pic.twitter.com/she9oV7auH
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) May 16, 2022
“With the third quickest car underneath us, we extracted the maximum points possible in Miami,” said Wolff in the team’s Spanish Grand Prix preview.
“Considering George’s start position (P12), it was a great recovery drive helped by when the Safety Car was deployed. But the timing was unfortunate for Lewis, who was strong all weekend and on course to score P5 without the neutralisation of the race. I’ve no doubt over the course of the season, a little luck will eventually go his way.
“During Friday practice, the car showed flashes of its true potential. We continued experimenting with set-up, fitted some new components and that’s provided us with answers and indications of which direction to go in.”
There have been suggestions that if things do not improve, Mercedes may have to abandon their zero-pod design of the W13 as they try to eliminate the ‘porpoising’ that has been such a feature of their campaign so far.
“A huge amount of hard work has been going on in the factories to unpick the data from Miami and turn it into improvements for Barcelona,” explained the team principal.
“Having run there in winter testing, albeit with a car that has evolved a lot since then, it will be a good place to correlate the information we have on the current car and we are hopeful we will make another step forward.
“The track itself is a good all-rounder, so it really puts every aspect of the car to the test. It’s never been a great track for overtaking so it will be interesting to see how these new-shape 2022 F1 cars impact the on-track spectacle in Spain.
“In basketball terms, we head to Barcelona at the end of the first quarter of the game. We know once we translate the learnings we’ve made into track performance, there is still a lot of the game left to play.”
It’s decision time for Mercedes in Spain
Mercedes have had a tough start and, with upgrades due, the time has come to see if they can claw back any pace.