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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Mercedes’ W13 Awaits Final Upgrade at Austin

The team aims for performance gains through lighter parts with an eye on 2023

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Aditya Saikrishna
Aditya Saikrishna
I am 21 years old and an avid Motorsports enthusiast.

UNITED STATES: Mercedes’ 2022 challenger W13 started the season as one of the heaviest cars on the grid. With their weight reduction progress hampered by the budget cap, the team will make the final major upgrade of the season at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) in Austin next week.

Mercedes has traditionally found Austin to be a happy hunting ground, with the team winning five of the nine races held at the COTA.

The teams from Brackley and Brixworth have endured a painstaking season so far, where the British duo of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have managed to snatch occasional podiums but never had the raw pace to win races.

If the winless run continues till the last race at Abu Dhabi, the 2022 championship will be their first winless season since 2011.

In their usual post-race debrief after the Japanese GP, Mercedes’ Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin described the team’s plans going ahead.

Andrew Shovlin said, “It’s our final step of aero development and that will hopefully give us a bit more performance, but importantly, with every step, we are learning more and more and that learning we can carry into next year, […] Also, there are a few bits where we have taken some weight out of components that will hopefully get the car closer to the weight limit. It’s very difficult for us to predict where we will be.”

According to Mercedes, their basic problem is the W13’s single-lap pace or lack thereof. The car has pace over a race distance, but it is overshadowed by its inability to achieve the best starting positions for the race.

Shovlin admits the Austin GP will be tricky for Mercedes considering the bumpy nature of the circuit, a trait which has triggered major driveability issues with the W13, which bounces heavily due to porpoising, which has been a common feature among most teams, but the Mercedes car seems to struggle most.

Shovlin added, “In Singapore, Lewis Hamilton was awfully close to pole position, yet in Suzuka, both cars had a big gap to the front, […] Until now, our race pace has been reasonably strong, so if we can make a step, hopefully, we can get into the fight with the Ferraris and Red Bulls. [… But qualifying for us is a really difficult one to predict at the moment.”

Also Read: Cost Cap Infringement Allegations Arise on a Potentially Historic F1 Weekend for Redbull

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