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What went wrong for Mercedes during the 2022 season and their W14 car
Mercedes hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons in 2022.
But, that didn’t concern Mercedes at the time. They were optimistic that their innovative design would bring them success in the 2022 campaign. However, they couldn’t have been more wrong. Unlike Mercedes’ previous models, the W13 had a onerous coming of age. So, with the above in mind, Sportsmail have taken a look at what went wrong for Mercedes during the 2022 season on a technical level and identified the amendments Brackley and Brixworth have made to the W14 Formula 1 car ahead of the 2023 season. Lewis Hamilton and the Mercedes team are hoping to return to the top of F1 with the W14 Mercedes looked untouchable until the AMG F1 W13 E Performance arrived on the grid (above) What went wrong for Mercedes during the 2022 season?PORPOISINGIt’s no secret that Mercedes endured a difficult start to the 2022 campaign. The W13 fell victim to the ‘porpoising phenomenon’ that plagued the grid following the FIA’s rule changes.The bouncing sensation created by the W13 had a colossal impact on the Mercedes drivers, with Lewis Hamilton in visible pain while struggling to exit his car after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.However, Mercedes were not the only team experiencing significant porpoising on the straights.
The Ferrari F1-75 experienced similar issues, but their car was still regarded as competitive. The W13 fell victim to the ‘porpoising’ issues that plagued the grid after the 2022 rule changes Lewis Hamilton in visible pain while struggling to exit his car after the Azerbaijan Grand PrixThe F1-75, which suffered from a catalogue of reliability issues later on in the season, was regarded as more competitive than the W13 because of how it dealt with porpoising in the corners. The W13 was guilty of carrying their porpoising issues into high-speed corners and cost Mercedes time on the power tracks — such as Monza, Azerbaijan, Montreal, SPA and Zandvoort.The W13 also struggled at the Australian Grand Prix — which is regarded as a high downforce track that prioritises aerodynamics over engine power. Russell described the porpoising on the run to Turn 9, during the Friday practice, as ‘the most severe’ he had ever experienced. Hamilton also felt the car bottoming out and expressed his concerns over high-speed cornering.Referring to how the W13 struggled in the corners, Toto Wolff said: ‘Our bouncing is worse in the sense that we are carrying it into the corners, into the high speed, we see where we lose performance.’When you look at the overlays in sector 1 we are very competitive, sector 2 we are competitive, in sector 3 through Turns 9 and 10 and through 12 we are losing all our margin, almost a second through a couple of corners.’But what exactly does that all mean? Well, simply put, the Mercedes drivers had to exhibit more caution when approaching high speed corners.
They had to approach the likes of Turn 9 at the Australian GP at a ruinously lower minimum speed.As a result, the Porpoising issue was having a negative effect on their overall lap times. It was also responsible for damaging the underside of the car — that protects critical components, like the Venturi tunnels — used to optimise speed.Mercedes made some improvements that mitigated the porposing phenomenon in the first quarter of the season. However, this exposed several other weaknesses. DRAG Mercedes also suffered from too much drag during the 2022 season. When discussing the changes required by the W13, Hamilton said the drag was ‘number two, or equal number one’.The W13’s drag issues were a direct consequence of the adjustments made to alleviate porposing.
The team raised the ride height to avoid bouncing and selected a bigger rear wing to create the required downforce.BRAKE SEPARATION Hamilton also spoke about brake separation during the 2022 season. The temperature imbalance between the brakes on the right and left can affect the responsiveness of each pedal.’We’ve had problems with our brakes all year,’ said Hamilton in the USA.
‘When you hit the brake, instead of both fronts doing the same amount of work, either the left one does more, or the right one does more, because one gains more temperature.»It’s something we’ve seen a lot through the year with these new bigger drums.
At one point in the race, Mercedes lagged Ferrari and Red Bull’s leading cars by more than half a minute.However, Mercedes High Performance Powertrains chief Hywel Thomas hinted that the work undertaken throughout the 2022 season would have longer-term benefits for the Silver Arrows.TYRE TEMPERATURE Finally, the Mercedes W13 struggled with tyre temperature.
The Silver Arrows had problems heating their tyres to the optimal level. This failure is evidenced by Hamilton’s issues in Bahrain and Imola.On his out lap in Bahrain, after a scheduled pit stop, Hamilton lacked grip and squandered two positions within the first few corners. he Silver Arrows had problems heating their tyres to the optimal level during the 2022 season What changes have Mercedes made for the 2023 season?Mercedes has revealed its 2023 W14 Formula 1 car and there are lots of interesting features to talk about.
Interestingly, the Silver Arrows decided to stick with their 2022 philosophy instead of overhauling their design.They’ve maintained their minimal sidepod concept and core DNA. But, they have decided to return to their all-black livery.
The exact spec of the car will come to light during pre-season testing in Bahrain.Nevertheless, Technical director Mike Elliott spoke about the team’s main objectives when designing the W14. He said they wanted to reduce the weight of the car, achieve a more consistent balance across the speed range and improve the aerodynamics characteristics.Mercedes have also focused on modifying the shape of the car, altering the suspension and developing the cooling system. Hamilton (third from right) and team-mate George Russell (second from left) took the wraps off their latest machine at the Mercedes’ Silverstone launch on WednesdayLIVERY Firstly, Mercedes made the decision to return to the all-black livery they sported during the 2020 and 2021 season. However, the reason behind the design for planet88 the 2023 season is slightly different. Mercedes opted for an all-black design in 2020 and 2021 to send an anti-racism message.
And, although they still stand by that, Elliott said the reason for this season’s livery was part of ‘a significant project to reduce overall weight’ of the car.Wolff went further by claiming Mercedes decided to paint the car black because it was on the 2023 limit — with the F1’s 2023 regulations saying the minimum weight will be 796kg, a reduction of 2kg from 2022.Although, it is believed the figure will remain at 798kg in 2023.
There is more to come on this and we will update you when clarity is given. Hamilton’s Mercedes team have reverted to a black livery for the 2023 F1 season (above) Team principal Toto Wolff insisted black ‘became part of our DNA’ when Mercedes’ car was that colour during the 2020 and 2021 seasons which was to send out an anti-racism messageWINGS Mercedes have taken a slightly different approach in terms of their slot gap.
The W14 doesn’t have a full-width slot gap between the forward two elements of the front wing. However, they have incorporated an increased slot gap at the inner end of these two elements. WISHBONE ASSEMBLY Mercedes have gone for a similar wishbone assembly this year.
They appear to have a similar pushrod layout to last year’s car.However, the rear leg looks a little lower than the W13 — meaning they could have opted for a multi-link front top wishbone assembly.But why have they chosen a multi-link front top wishbone assembly over a simple A-arm wishbone?
Well, the new design will give the W14 a larger tyre contact patch in the slower corners. SIDEPODS Mercedes have decided to stick with their unique sidepod solution for the W14.
Wolff says it’s important to be ‘bold’ in the sport and insists the innovative design was not the reason behind their failure last season. He said: ‘I think it’s important to be bold in this sport, and I’m still proud of the solutions that were put on the car last year.
This will clear a passage beneath the suspension elements and improve the flow into the coke bottle region.But, that isn’t all. The Silver Arrows have taken it a step further. They have added cooling gills on the sidepod’s upper surface and the engine cover shelf.
These can be amended to suit the conditions at each race.