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F1 | Miami GP | Mercedes are “flying in the fog” while understanding the W13

Team Principal Toto Wolff believes that the car has a lot of potential, but that they don’t know how to uncover it yet and doesn’t discard the option of returning to the original Barcelona concept, in spite of it being “much slower on paper”.

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F1 | Miami GP | Mercedes are “flying in the fog” while understanding the W13
Fuente imagen: Hasan Bratic- Motorlat

Mercedes gave a solid performance in the inaugural Miami GP, with a double points finish after some qualifying worries. George Russell is the only driver so far to have ended all the races in the top 5, impressively recovering from P15 to the fifth place, albeit helped by a safety car, while Lewis Hamilton managed to keep his starting P6.

However, Team Principal Toto Wolff isn't extremely confident in the team's knowledge of the W13 and how to return to the form shown in the previous years.

Asked about his understanding of the reasons why the car is not working in the post race press conference, he replied jokingly with a laugh: "I wouldn't want to give you the headline and say that because it looks like we're a bunch of fools, which we may or may not be."

"We have been straight from the beginning, flying in the fog a little bit. It's clear that there is potential in the car, and she's fast, but we just don't understand how to unlock the potential. It's a car that is super difficult to drive and on the edge dipping in and out of the performance window – more out than in."

Improving the car and working to find out the reason of its behaviour is an extremely hard procedure, which involves team workers at every level.

"And dissecting the data with a scalpel is just a painful process, because it takes a very long time and as a matter of fact the data sometimes doesn’t show what the drivers tell us. Certainly they have their hands full with a car that is not at all comfortable to drive or nice to drive or predictable to drive.

“But the data doesn’t show these big swings. We haven’t had this situation before where it just doesn’t correlate what we see on the screens with what the driver feels. That’s making it even more difficult.”

The Team Principal talked about the importance of the data recovered throughout the weekend, adding that he doesn't know yet if such new information will help Mercedes to make significant improvements to the previous setups in order to reduce porpoising in time for the next Barcelona round already.

"I think it has given enough answers. On a positive side, the car is quick when it's in the sweet spot, but understanding where the sweet spot is is something that we are going to become a step closer after analysing all the data this weekend," he commented.

Wolff doesn't take completely off the table the option of returning to the first W13 concept with less prominent sidepods, as it had less floor exposed and might help to reduce the heavy porpoising issue, however, he believes that the team should be allowed more time to pursue the current project they have faith on.

"If you walk through the grid and you can see that our floor edges just stick out much wider than everybody else's that, of course, gives it much more scope of possible instability, I think that 's where our concept varies."

"Clearly, the Barcelona launch car is much slower on paper, but we need to find out how we make the current car work predictably for the drivers."

Even if at the moment the German team is completely focused on making the car shown in Miami work at its best and in a more regular way, there's a faint chance of seeing the Barcelona test concept of the car back in the paddock:

"I wouldn't discount anything, but we need to give all of our people who have produced great racecars in the past the benefit of the doubt, and we believe this is the route to go. 

"Barcelona is definitely going to be a point in time when we are able to correlate with what we’ve seen in February and gather more data. I’m also annoyed by always saying the same thing a lot: gathering data and making experiments. But it’s physics are not mystics, and therefore you have to unpick the bones." he concluded.

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