Monaco F1 expectations lower than any other circuit

Monaco F1 expectations lower than any other circuit

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Publish Date:
25 May, 2022
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Jonathan Noble

The reigning constructors’ champions introduced a raft of upgrades to its W13 that has transformed its pace, and helped George Russell fight with Red Bull before grabbing a podium finish.

But while encouraged that it has begun to unlock the potential it felt was in its 2022 challenger, it thinks Monaco may be a bit more of a struggle.

PLUS: Why Mercedes’ Spanish GP gains aren’t as grand as they seemed

Team boss Toto Wolff, when asked if there was a degree of optimism for another good result in Monaco, said: “I wouldn’t say so, because we have been particularly off-pace this weekend in the slow corners in the last sector, due to overheating.

“That might be different in Monaco, but Monaco in the past wasn’t our most happy place. Maybe because the car was the size of an elephant.

“But I’d be curious to see where we are this weekend. We still struggled with warming up a little bit, so my expectations for Monaco are lower than on any other circuit.

“I’m not sure I can explain scientifically why that is. But it’s going to be another learning point, at least to bring us back into the game.”

Mercedes’ skepticism about its chances for Monaco have been increased by the fact that it was not super competitive in the final sector of the Barcelona track last weekend.

The performance through S3 there has often provided a good indicator of potential for the Monte Carlo streets, because the nature of the slow/medium speed corners and traction zones are very similar.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Ranking the fastest cars through the sector in qualifying for the Spanish GP, Mercedes was only fifth fastest.

1.Ferrari 27,336
2. Red Bull 27.411
3. Alfa Romeo 27,443
4.Haas 27,561
5.Mercedes 27,698
6. McLaren 27,768
7. Alpine 27,896
8. AlphaTauri 27,984
9. Aston Martin 28.197
10.Williams 28,586

However, one factor that needs to be taken into account is that the Mercedes did not appear to be using its tires so consistently over the full lap – so peak performance had fallen away by the time they reached the final technical corners.

Mercedes not fully clear of porpoising problems

While the Spanish GP performance was encouraging for Mercedes, the team is under no illusions that it has sorted all its problems.

James Vowles, the team’s motorsport strategy director, said that while porpoising had been eradicated in Spain, the threat of it returning at future venues could not be ruled out.

“We have to temper our expectations,” he said in Mercedes’ regular post-race video debrief. “It’s one track and a track that has suited our car for many years prior to this one. There is a lot for us to understand and learn.

“I think it would be wrong to say that the porpoising issue has disappeared. I think you still see it on our competitors and I am sure there will be elements of it coming back again as we build on our understanding and the foundations that we laid down in Barcelona

“What I can say is we made a definite step, a step in our understanding and the deployment of what we put on track. And we can build on that, and the same could not be said about the first five races with the car that we had there.”

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