Senior Mercedes engineer admits they cocked up car

The 2022 Formula 1 season was not particularly successful for Mercedes, but it was all the more instructive over the year. The Silver Arrows fumbled with the construction of the W13 and were behind the curve, especially in the first few months. Senior engineer Andrew Shovlin now described what went wrong in the important preparation phase and reported on a fatal miscalculation of the team that was used to success, admitting the team cocked up big time.

The disaster for Mercedes began a few weeks before the first official test drives in Barcelona. During the so-called “shakedown” in Silverstone, the team actually wanted to gather first insights into its new W13, which should have led to the first small improvements to the car. But the weather threw a spanner in the team’s works.


“We were in the middle of a storm at Silverstone. Those were pretty much the worst conditions we have ever driven a car in,” Shovlin told, describing how Mercedes had already been deprived of the option to collect important data on the new car there.


Nevertheless, when it came to Barcelona, everything seemed to go according to plan at first. The team did observe an increased porpoising effect, the uncontrolled bouncing on the straights, but this was not considered serious, according to Shovlin.

“In Barcelona we thought: We are not the fastest, but we are not in such a bad position either.”



Mercedes and the fatal misjudgement

The bouncing on the straights, the officials thought, would be dealt with in the following tests in Bahrain.

“With our Bahrain package, we expected a good increase in performance,” the engineer explained – a fatal miscalculation, because said package did not alleviate the bouncing on the straights, but actually increased it.

“The problem was: when we had the new package [in Bahrain], the porpoising was suddenly at a whole new level.

“A lot of the performance we wanted to gain didn’t materialise because we had to put the car even higher.

“At that point we couldn’t get rid of the bouncing,” Shovlin said, explaining how his team fell into the trap and lost a large part of the season, and thus its dominance in Formula One, due to a misguided development.





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