Mercedes have today launched their 2022 Formula One World Championship contender – the Mercedes-AMG F1 W13 E Performance.
The team revealed that this generation in Formula One – in line with the sport’s most significant technical regulation changes – has allowed the team to identify every possible opportunity to unlock performance.
After a long winter break, the silver arrows finally unveiled a car which is 98% new and freshly designed from tip-to-toe with minimal carry-over from its predecessor – according to Toto Wolff.
Behind the wheel of the W13 for the 2022 season will be a the driver partnership of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell – who graduated from the Mercedes Young Driver Programme to step up to the eight-time world champion MercedesAMG works team.
Speaking about the new machinery, Team Principal, Toto Wolff said: “Ever since work on W13 began, I have seen an excited enthusiasm in our team members like never before, thanks to the scale of opportunity that these technical regulations provide.
“Towards the end of the year when the car build project truly came together, I felt a deep passion across the whole organisation, not only in the technical arena but across our bases at Brackley and Brixworth who were embracing a mindset of ‘we can do this’”.
“We did pretty well during the last big regulatory change into the hybrid era and performed well when we went from the narrow to the wide cars in 2017.
“While we have a good track record, my message is clear: we can’t rely on past success for this year’s performance, but we can rely on our people, our culture, our structure, and our mindset to do the best possible job for 2022”, continued Toto.
The team’s 2022 car will be named the ‘Mercedes-AMG F1 W13 E Performance’, with W13 representing the thirteenth car produced by the Mercedes-AMG works team since re-entering F1 in 2010.
The ‘E Performance’ technology label signifies the continued close collaboration between the team and Mercedes-AMG, with the label featuring all-new AMG performance hybrid cars.
The technical regulation changes for 2022 have meant there was a fundamental shift in design rules and one of the biggest regulatory changes the sport has ever seen.
“We haven’t had a change as big as this one in my career. I think there are three aspects to this: first, the way the regulations are constructed is very different, particularly for aerodynamics, and that has a big impact.
“Second, what they are trying to achieve with the aerodynamics means the cars are fundamentally a different shape. Third, this is the first time we will have attempted such a big change under a cost cap.”
According to Mike, the steering wheel is the only carryover element from its predecessor.
“Engineers love a challenge and therefore it is a fantastic opportunity to do something fresh. In the aerodynamic world, normally you are chasing after little bits and pieces, but with such big regulation changes, the gains have been coming in big chunks which is quite satisfying,” Mike explained.
“On the flipside, we’ve had a period of success, winning the last eight Constructors’ titles and this is a reset. All the teams have started from scratch with the model provided by F1 and you don’t get to carry over the benefits or fix the issues from last year’s car, so everyone began this journey at the same level.”
However, the Aerodynamic Testing Restrictions introduced in 2021 – aimed at levelling the playing field – mean teams have had varying amounts of development opportunity at their disposal, with aerodynamic testing allocated on a sliding scale based on a team’s finishing position in the 2021 Constructors’ Championship.
“The teams have started with different allocations of runs in the wind tunnel and hours of CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) so it has the potential to really mix up the order,” Mike adds.
“That’s an exciting test as an engineer but there is obviously some risk in there too, in terms of our competitive position.”