After winning the past eight constructors’ world championships, Mercedes have endured a miserable start to the new campaign and F1’s new era of technical regulations. 

Mercedes’ W13 challenger has been afflicted by severe porpoising problems and the team have been forced to run the car higher than it was designed for to try and manage the issue.

Although this has helped make the high-frequency bouncing more manageable, it has compromised both downforce and performance, leaving Mercedes nearly a full second off the pace. 

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says the team intend to use this weekend’s inaugural race in Miami to verify recent learnings with the aim of making tangible progress towards solving the problems that have so far plagued the car. 

After finishing fourth and 13th in Imola last time out, George Russell and Lewis Hamilton have spent time in Mercedes’ simulator to aid the team’s understanding of their troublesome W13. 

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“It was a very difficult weekend for us in Imola,” Wolff said in a Mercedes preview ahead of the Miami Grand Prix. “George did a great job to finish P4 from an unpromising starting position but with Lewis, we didn’t give him the tools or track position to show his true pace.

“Since we returned from Italy, we’ve learned as much from the weekend as we can and, in parallel, our learning has continued in the windtunnel and simulations. 

“We have found several directions for improving the car, and we will be conducting experiments in Miami to correlate those simulations, and hopefully confirm the development path for the coming races.

“Both drivers have been working in the simulator ahead of Miami and the factories have been busy producing updates for the next races.

“The saying ‘smooth seas do not make good sailors’ comes to mind. This team has shown its resilience over many years and the difficult start to this season has lit a fire within every team member, determined to put it right.”

Mercedes expected to bring Miami upgrades 

Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin indicated last week that the team would be bringing new parts to the car for the first race in the United States this year. 

“Hopefully, soon, maybe as soon as Miami, we can start to bring some parts to the car that will hopefully give us an indication on whether we are moving in the right direction,” he said. 

The reigning world champions are hopeful that a string of updates across the coming races will enable them to address the porpoising problem, though Shovlin admitted the team were “not expecting to solve this overnight”. 

A lower-drag rear wing is one of the parts anticipated to be introduced in Miami. 

"A lot of the work that is going on in [the factory in] Brackley has been to understand the phenomenon and whether we can actually control it, whether we can engineer it out of the car,” Shovlin added. 

"Is there an aerodynamic solution that we can apply to the car that will make this problem go away?

"Now, being realistic we think this will be something we approach in steps rather than one big moment where the whole thing vanishes.

"But we are seeing encouraging signs. As I said, we are hoping to bring parts to the car soon, maybe even Miami where we can hopefully see progress on this issue.”

Third-place finishes in Bahrain (Hamilton) and Australia (Russell) are the best results Mercedes have mustered so far in 2022. The team currently sits third in the constructors’ championship, 47 points behind Ferrari. 

Russell has fared slightly better than Hamilton in the opening rounds and is fourth in the drivers’ standings, while the seven-time world champion is seventh, 58 points adrift of early championship leader Charles Leclerc

Hamilton has already written off his chances of competing for a record-breaking eighth world title this year but has rejected the notion he could quit F1 amid his difficult start to the season.