Mercedes is hoping that the upgrades aimed at helping it run its 2022 Formula 1 car lower to the ground will be ready for next week’s Miami Grand Prix.
The German car manufacturer has been held back so far this season by porpoising, which has forced the team to run its W13 with a much higher ride height than it was originally designed for.
Raising the platform is costing it a lot of downforce, but the outfit remains convinced that if it can switch off the porpoising then it can unlock a lot of pace by being able to run the car where it was originally intended.
The team has worked hard to get to the bottom of the problem and it is now hoping that it can bring developments to Miami that will offer it a proper indication about whether or not it has begun the properly get on top of the issue.
Trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said the updates would not instantly solve all of Mercedes’ problems, but would at least confirm if it is heading in the right direction.
Speaking in the team’s regular post-race weekend analysis video, Shovlin said: “We know where we are at the moment, we know that gap that we need to make up to get where we want to be, but as a team, we are very focussed on the engineering challenge that this is, and it is a very interesting engineering challenge.
“[These are] problems that are new to us, that we need to get on top of and understand and there is an enormous amount of energy back here going into that, but day by day we are moving forward, we are learning more about it and 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.
“We are not expecting to solve this overnight. But if we can get a clue that we are going in the right direction, that we really got to the bottom of what is going on, then we will be quite pleased that we are just moving on the right path.”
Team boss Toto Wolff suggested over the Imola weekend, where the team endured a very difficult weekend, that the team just had to find a way of ‘unlocking’ the potential in the W13.
“I think we have a direction, where we know how we can unlock the potential that is within the car that would bring us much, much closer,” he explained. “But at the moment, we haven't got the key.
“And therefore you just need to grind away and you just need to continue to rely on the science and physics before spiralling in some kind of negative momentum.”
Asked to explain more about Wolff’s comment, Shovlin said: “It is obviously a bit of a cliché, but the reality is we can't run the car where we designed it to be run.
“We're having to run higher ride heights and by running higher ride heights, it's got less performance. Now, that might be true for almost every car on the grid as lots of people are suffering with this problem and we know that lifting the car is a way of alleviating it.
“A lot of the work that is going on in Brackley has been to understand the phenomenon and whether we can actually control it, whether we can engineer it out of the car and when Toto talks about finding the key what he is really talking about is, 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.”