After a first Grand Prix in Bahrain where the race was no easy matter for the constructor’s World Champion team, Mercedes finished the second race in Saudi Arabia with more work to look forward to, after reaching the checkered flag in 10th and 5th place, as Lewis Hamilton and George Russell keep struggling to bring Mercedes to the top with the new regulation changes on the 2022 season.
Andrew Shovlin spoke on the team’s Race Debrief after the race in Jeddah and talked about the team’s biggest hope to turn around the situation that has them not fighting for the wins in the category, he said the work being done every week and on the team’s factory are the way the car’s performance on the W13 is going to give the team some payback.
“Well, we're under no illusions what that performance gap is, and in Jeddah, it was ultimately a bit bigger than in Bahrain. But we've got quite a lot to find both in qualifying and on long run if we want to challenge the Ferrari and the Red Bull cars.”
“However, behind us it looks like we have a bit of margin to that midfield. We need to do a good job to be ahead of them, but we have a bit of margin and that buys us a bit of breathing space to allow us to experiment on the weekends, to try and bring solutions to lift the level of performance of the car,” Shovlin said.
“So, ultimately though, this is a problem that is going to be fixed back at the factories both in Brackley and Brixworth. Everyone is working very hard to try and understand the issue and bring solutions and we are going to be doing that in a phased way over the next few races.”
“At the track we are going to be doing as much as we can to minimise damage, to score as many points as possible. So, really there is two elements to this: maximising the performance in a given weekend but then the bigger part of this is trying to get back to a level where we can compete for pole positions and for race wins.”
The trackside engineering director specified that progress on the understanding of the W13 is made on all weekends and he said that, after Saudi Arabia, the learning process is bigger and more important as it is just the start of the F1 season.
“Well, it always does and even at the end of a season, if, you know, if we look at the last few races of last year's season we are still learning with every race weekend we learn more about the car, more about the tyres and at the start of the season that learning rate is even higher.”
“So, what we were doing this week is digesting that, there was a lot of experiments that we were doing through the weekend, we still have got to go through some of that data and analysing that is then going to give us our approach for Melbourne. It's a job that never really ends, you are always trying to look at what you can learn from a weekend and apply it to the next one and we know that we need to accelerate that process to try and bring as much performance as we can as quickly as possible,” he concluded.