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Mercedes explain how early problem became 'incredibly complicated issue'

The beginnings of the 2022 season proved challenging for Mercedes, and the team's Trackside Engineering Director, Andrew Shovlin, has given an insight into just how complex their early issues were.

Hamilton Silverstone
To news overview © XPB

Mercedes have revealed how their early problems in 2022 quickly became an "incredibly complicated issue".

The team faced a challenging start to the season amid the introduction of new technical regulations in the sport, with the W13 affected by problems including porpoising.

During an appearance on the The GoF1Show, the Silver Arrows' Trackside Engineering Director, Andrew Shovlin, was asked whether the team had reflected on the root cause of their issues.

Shovlin explained that the Brackley-based squad have always taken an approach of constantly trying to improve – which has seen them through previous regulation changes – but he admits that the challenge of the changes in 2022 resulted in them facing an entirely new issue.

The complex issue that Mercedes faced

"[With] these regulations, we will, in due course, go back and say, 'Where do we need to put processes and protocols in place to avoid this kind of issue in the future?'" Shovlin detailed.

"But this was a problem that we've never experienced in the aerodynamics of any of the cars we'd ever made before, because none of them had these types of floors that work incredibly well when you get them close to the ground.

"And the problem was not just [that], there [were] lots of elements of it as well, with compliance of parts on the car, along with the interacting with the aerodynamics.

"So it became an incredibly complicated issue, and we didn't have the tools to capture that in modelling and to predict it."

Why Mercedes avoided "quick fixes" for problems

Shovlin acknowledges that some teams may have reacted more quickly than they did, but added that Mercedes are thinking of the long-term when it comes to addressing their issues.

"It may be that some teams saw this coming," he continued.

"It may be that some reacted quicker than we did, but what we were focused on was being able to develop the tools that we need to progress within these regulations.

"If we went back and looked at the early races, I think we could have found some quick fix solutions that would have made us more competitive in the first few.

"But considering that these rules are in place for the next four years, our focus will be, 'Let's think a bit longer-term than just the next race or the one after that. Let's work out that we're going to have best in class development over the next two or three years'.

"That is what we were targeting."

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