Former Formula 1 driver Timo Glock believes Mercedes has a big "challenge" to get back to their championship-winning ways.
The team appeared to unlock more performance with the W14 at the US and Mexico City Grands Prix during the recent triple-header, only for its confidence to be shattered by a shocking performance in the Sao Paulo Grand Prix weekend with a lack of straight-line speed and high tyre wear holding Lewis Hamilton and George Russell back.
Team Principal Toto Wolff branded the race "inexcusable" for the team, and felt its W14 car did not deserve a win after a season of below-par performances.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with RacingNews365, thanks to luckblock, Glock believes it will be hard for the team to get itself out of the struggle and back fighting for championships, which it was doing as recently as 2021.
"That's the worst case for the team, that you don't understand why you are sometimes quick and why you sometimes slow," says Glock.
"It wasn't really a bad weekend for them. Even in Mexico on Friday, they struggled a bit to find the right direction and suddenly it clicked, they made the right change, and the car was in the sweet spot.
"Then one week later they come to Brazil and nothing works anymore. So that's the worst case scenario that you don't know at the moment why you are quick and why you're slow."
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Glock: The problem is obvious at Mercedes
Out of the 91 race starts that Glock made in his F1 career, 32 were with Toyota who were famed for being an outfit that failed to reach its potential throughout the eight years it spent in F1.
Toyota showed promise at the start of the 2009 season, and Glock believes Mercedes must do something similar if its wants to get back to the winning juggernaut it once was between 2014 and 2021.
"They need to find the direction and the reason why things look good in simulation and wind tunnel, but not in reality," he continues.
"If you look back to the past to the old cars, that was the strength of Mercedes. They just put new parts on the car and it worked.
"With the new concept of the car from the last few years, I think it's pretty obvious there is a problem in terms of correlation of simulation and wind tunnel to reality."
The challenge for Mercedes
Since the introduction of the budget cap in F1, teams have been more selective in the types of updates they bring to the circuit along with the testing phase.
The goal is to achieve as much lap time as possible, while still being efficient and reducing costs. Could this be one of the downfalls of Mercedes in the last couple of years?
"That could be one part of it, but I think at the end it worked in the past," explains Glock.
"Even if you bring small parts, or you're just limited in terms of running time in the in the simulation or wind tunnel, I think it should still be the case that you you find the gain in the wind tunnel and it should work in reality.
"This is not happening. I think it's the whole new concept of those new cars, which makes the problems at the moment to understand what direction to go in."
Then Technical Director and latterly Chief Technical Officer Mike Elliott recently joined the list of senior members that have departed the team, having been the person responsible for heading its design for the W13 and first version of the W14 - with the zero sidepods - with Glock sensing an opportunity.
"Mercedes has been strong over so many years, being what Red Bull is at the moment," he says.
"The most challenging thing for a team is to keep a group together and now they have a lot of change, that's influencing the team, and the performance of the team.
"But everyone is facing that at the moment. Even Red Bull is losing some guys, which could affect the team. In the end, that's the biggest challenge for Mercedes; to regroup again and get the team in the right direction."
Mercedes has been strong over so many years, being what Red Bull is at the moment
Glock pin points Russell problem over Hamilton
While it has had trouble off-track, both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have also had their fair share of moments on track that have impacted the team this year. In Spain, they collided during qualifying, and again at the start in Qatar, which forced Hamilton to retire.
Glock believes Russell has been the outlier in this, as Hamilton utilises his extensive experience to extract the most from the car.
"George struggles a bit more with those new updates since Austin and it seems like it's favouring a bit more Lewis," he adds.
"But on the other side, it was an unlucky season for George. Everything which worked last year seems to not work this year, he has sometimes been in the wrong position.
"It seems like it's a guess what set up direction he needs to go in and Lewis was experienced with speed on his side being a bit more experienced.
'Maybe they are finding a better way to set up the car for Lewis which doesn't look like it's working out on George's side.
"I think there is no real sort of mental struggle from George, I think he knows it still is quick and he shows that every time. It's just a matter of getting the car in the right direction of his liking."