Mercedes seeks answers after Friday slipped ‘most competitive’

Mercedes is trying to understand how it went from its “most competitive” period of the 2022 Formula 1 season so far on Friday in Miami to another tough weekend race.

George Russell was fastest in FP2 and Mercedes seemed to take a step ahead compared to Ferrari and Red Bull, but Saturday’s final practice session left the team out of reach and Russell failed to make it into the third quarter. Although the team eventually salvaged a pair from the top six, coach Mike Elliott says Mercedes doesn’t know why the speed is missing.

“That’s a really good question and it’s one we’re trying to answer right now,” Elliott said. “I think if you had to look at the running on Friday, he was probably the most competitive at any point during the season so far.

“Between Friday and Saturday we will have made some changes and those changes were actually fairly minor, but there were also changes in conditions and we need to go through all that data and extract as much understanding as possible and use that to move forward over the next two races.”

Mercedes brought some upgrades to Miami and Elliott says those designed to simply increase performance worked as planned, but the team keeps trying and finding solutions to the porpoise’s problems that are proving very difficult.

“I think it’s important to distinguish two things: one is the normal upgrade path and one is to fix the issues we’re having with recoil and other things that put performance at risk. So the suites we gave us definitely gave us the performance we were expecting and it was a step forward.

“The experiments we were doing on the track trying to understand the rebound, we collected a lot of data on Friday when we had a solid performance and collected data through the race. As always, the engineers are pouring through that and gaining understanding. In fact, every time we run In the car, we learn something new and that is the goal of the game – trying to understand the car faster than our competitors.

“Even though we are currently a little bit behind with that, there is a huge amount of effort, a huge amount of work trying to understand how to improve the car, how do we find that next small step forward how do we get rid of the bounce? How do we get back into the competition for To the rookie team, which is where we want to be?”

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