Mercedes went through a nightmarish start to an era of profound effect with a car hit by a wild ordeal that forced the team to drive the car higher than it wanted.
The jump also prevented Brackley’s equipment from achieving net performance until the problem was resolved, as evidenced by the first five races of 2022, in which Lewis Hamilton and George Russell failed to make significant progress.
But the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend, for which Mercedes released a series of upgrades to its W13, finally seemed made the breakthrough he was looking for.
Beginning with Friday’s workout, the guinea pig has disappeared, and Mercedes boss Wolf has confirmed that the team has solved the Achilles heel problem.
“Yes, we understand now,” Wolf told Sky Sports after qualifying for “Barcelona” in which Russell was fourth and Hamilton sixth.
“It’s an aerodynamic effect that comes from swinging the floor, and it’s been hard to come to that conclusion scientifically. But the team around. [technical director] Mike Elliot and [aero chief] Jerrod Murphy, they did it. And that’s great. “
Toto Wolf, Team Leader and CEO of Mercedes AMG talks to George Russell, Mercedes-AMG in the Mercedes garage
Photo: Steve Etherington / Drawings of motorsport
Although Mercedes still lags behind its rivals by six-tenths, Wolf is confident his team can begin to close that gap.
Removing the guinea pigs will allow him to focus all his efforts on making the car faster rather than fighting with one hand tied behind his back.
“The other teams were able to continue developing their car, and we were on a short break to learn about the jumps,” he explained.
“So as soon as we can start regular development, as soon as we better understand the tires, now the jumps are gone, I think we will catch up.
“I think we have taken a serious step in Barcelona. You are trying to keep your expectations realistic, and I think what we have taken today is the best we could have expected.”