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Chandhok: Mercedes could get caught out by small regulation change

With Mercedes enjoying a late surge at the end of the 2022 season, could a new regulation change catch them out in 2023?

Hamilton Belgium
To news overview © XPBimages

Despite starting 2022 in one of their worst places since dominating F1 at the start of the hybrid era, Mercedes enjoyed a late surge at the end of the 2022 season.

This is largely after they got on top of the W13's issues that plagued them throughout the season, however a regulation change incoming next year could affect them further.

The FIA has increased the outer floor edges by 15 millimetres with no more than 5mm vertical deflection when a 250N load is applied in a downwards direction and no more than 5mm vertically when the 250N load is applied upwards.

The purpose is to reduce teams' ability to run the edge of the floor closer to the surface of the track, and thus inheriting better aero performance. It was initially an increase of 25mm, but the FIA compromised to 15mm after backlash from the teams.

Floor increase could hurt Mercedes

According to Sky Sports F1 pundit Karun Chandhok, this change could have a negative effect on Mercedes who historically have never ran a high ride height on their cars.

"There's a regulation change next year, which is small but not insignificant in terms of the ride heights. The cars have all got to run at a higher ride height," he said on the end of season review.

"Which is the one team historically that hasn't run at a high ride height? The brain power that won all those World Championships is still there in Brackley and Brixworth. But I don't think it's as easy to fix yet as you might think."

The team only enjoyed one win during the 2022 season at the Brazilian Grand Prix, but still managed to finish in the top three of the Constructors' Championship.

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