The 2022 Formula One World Championship has certainly not been short of excitement. Indeed, after the fractious events of the 2021 Championship, the drama and intrigue seem ratcheted up yet higher as personalities clash and teams dissemble under the immense pressure of another season.
But, if the 2021 Championship was defined by the intense rivalry between legend-in-the-making Lewis Hamilton and young upstart Max Verstappen, the 2022 Championship is defined by Verstappen’s near-complete dominance. Indeed, Verstappen’s performance has earned him win after win, including at the recent Mexican Grand Prix.
But the Championship season is also defined by a noted absence, as much as the glowing presence of a star driver. That absence is the Mercedes team, who have turned in one of their all-time worst F1 performances so far.
A Season to Forget
Mercedes has been a household name car brand for generations; the quality of their cars is undeniable, inspiring domestic owners to take out Mercedes gap insurance as a safe bet for covering their full value. But Mercedes’ F1 engineering has left a little more to be desired, as their new W13 car design continues to flounder.
The new design was bound to have some teething problems, but the team have failed to get on top of some serious issues – including a severe case of porpoising that is slowing drivers Hamilton and George Russell on the straights, and also causing them physical pain in the process.
The result has been nothing short of a season to forget for Mercedes so far, as they continue a non-winning streak. This is the first Championship in years that neither Mercedes driver has touched the top spot on the podium.
Potential for Change
That said, Hamilton and Russell are no strangers to adaptation, and have been putting the hard work in to figure out the W13 along with the engineering team. Russell has appeared quicker to adapt, but Hamilton remains a serious contender against Verstappen – having clinched second place in the Mexican GP.
The Mercedes team head Toto Wolff has been guarded about the future of the Mercedes team, as all continue to work to understand the car. He is, however, optimistic that the future is bright for the team – and that much of the missing performance this year has already been discovered and accounted for.
The Outlook for 2023
So, with this in mind, what is the outlook for 2023? Mercedes 2022 performance is all but set in stone at this point, leading many fans to cut their losses and look to the future. The FIA’s ban on power unit research development puts all teams on a relatively even keel heading forward, giving Mercedes the chance to get to grips with its own controversial designs before other teams get their own separate advantages.