UNITED KINGDOM: Mercedes bested the times during the first pre-season test of the 2022 F1 season at the Barcelona de Catalunya Circuit, the venue for the Spanish Grand Prix.
Mercedes outperformed the competition during the first pre-season
Mercedes set the benchmark with what was an early development stage package. This accomplishment needed critical ride level changes and metal floor stays, which were initially not intended to be run nor considered lawful by F1’s initial 2022 regulations.
However, Andrew Shovlin, director of trackside engineering, clarified that the team was not overly concerned because it had not yet run the W13 in its race specification.
The team had observed the problem with porpoising during the shakedown run in Silverstone during Storm Eunice two weeks prior and continued at Barcelona.
The race-spec W13 showed up to incredible interest at the Bahrain test ahead of the 2022 F1 season opener, with the vehicle changed thanks to its ‘zero-pod’ sidepod design. The floor stays remained on the car and was consequently deemed legitimate by the FIA, with a few other teams utilizing them by the end of the season.
However, Mercedes’ 2022 F1 campaign began to unravel as the W13’s porpoising worsened until the team introduced its first significant upgrade at Barcelona for the Spanish GP in May.
Even though Mercedes had addressed its aerodynamic porpoising issues, the team later revealed that its suspension stiffness over bumps was also a problem.
The Silver Arrows could not make the W13 faster through additional developments until the Austin race late in the season because of these secondary issues and their efforts to fix them.
Shovlin says that during the W13 shakedown at Silverstone, the team had to operate in the middle of a storm. He added that it was about the worst conditions in which the team had to run the car.
Consequently, according to him, going to Barcelona was a case of understanding the car further and how to run the car while identifying underlying issues.
The team found itself in a spot over what it could do to stop the porpoising, which was debilitating for the drivers, especially even more for Lewis Hamilton, who ran sensors and experimental setups to help the team get to the root of its issues.