Technology for 2022 is extremely slow: Mercedes plan destroys Hamilton’s presence

Technology for 2022 is extremely slow
Mercedes plan destroys Hamilton’s presence

The focus of Mercedes in Formula 1 is already on the 2022 season. Then the new regulations come into force and change a lot. This is how Lewis Hamilton’s team wants to be prepared. In fact, however, everything is slowing down – Red Bull is pursuing a different strategy and thus going ahead.

Paddy Lowe got into a chat the other day. In the Formula 1 podcast “Beyond the Grid”, the former head of technology at Mercedes claims that the team deliberately turned down the engine in qualifying at the beginning of the turbo-hybrid era in 2014 – for fear that a “ridiculous” superiority would lead to rule changes. Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff referred the statements of his former top employee energetically to the realm of fables – but he would like to have such “worries” today.

After seven driver and designer titles in a row, Mercedes is faced with the question of how much energy to invest in the arms race with Red Bull in the short term. The racing team of world championship leader Max Verstappen received “trucks with new parts” last week, Wolff remarked smugly, “it is a strategic decision, and at the moment it brings success”.

His racing team took a different direction. “It wouldn’t make sense to spend a week or two completely on the current car, because the progress wouldn’t even begin to be as big as the steps you can take for the next year,” explained the team boss.

However, this does not mean that the W12 will continue to contest the 15 remaining races. “We have a reasonable number of things that will make our car faster in the coming races,” said current Mercedes technical director James Allison on the “F1 Nation” podcast.

Think about later sooner

The main focus, however, is on 2022. Then new regulations will take effect, and Formula 1 is facing a revolution in terms of aerodynamics. Mick Schumacher’s Haas racing team, for example, was already focusing on next year before the start of the season. At Mercedes, too, the old insurer principle is now being followed: Think about later, earlier.

Wolff made it clear that the championship was by no means written off: “We’re not giving away!” In the first part of the Spielberg double pack last weekend, however, the Silver Arrows racing team had no realistic chance of winning. Since the calculation seems logical that the conditions on Sunday (3 p.m. / Sky and in the live ticker) are similar in the same place.

“Heavyweight fight over 23 rounds”

However, the framework conditions will be different. In Styria, it should cool down significantly compared to the last glowing weekend, rain showers are likely. The tires are also one step softer, which makes a two-stop strategy possible. Will that be enough for Mercedes to enter an open battle with Red Bull? It is time. The Silver Arrows have been waiting for a victory for four races, the last time being in 2013. Verstappen’s world championship lead over Lewis Hamilton has grown to 18 points.

After finishing second on Sunday, the most successful driver in Formula 1 history literally begged for updates. Wolff interjected that they would “not reliably close the gap that has already arisen on Red Bull.” The Austrian is still convinced that his team will still win a few more wins in the “23-round heavyweight fight”. After all, Red Bull will have to plan in two directions at some point, “because otherwise it will be dangerous for the coming year”.

In addition, it is not just about 2022, the upcoming regulations will apply for a long time after that. And this also explains why the contractual talks between Hamilton and Mercedes are well advanced.