Unless Mercedes’ Miami upgrades provide the step forward the team desperately needs, Martin Brundle says there has to come a time when they say “this car and this concept just don’t work”.
Formula 1 is getting a facelift this season with cars based on ground effect aerodynamics.
Although there were fears ahead of pre-season testing that the cars would look the same as F1 had issued a rigid set of technical regulations, the teams have all offered different solutions.
Mercedes opted for a podless design, but the W13 turns out to be a handful as the minimalist sidepods compounded their ‘porpoising’ issues.
Suffering from extreme bouncing, it’s assumed to cost Mercedes about a second per lap.
After four tough races, the team arrived in Miami with updates for the car that had george russell hit the front in FP2.
W13, however, were still struggling with Porpoising, with the team failing to eliminate it.
And if they can’t, Brundle says Mercedes “must” make the call in future races to abandon their design philosophy.
“There has to come a point where they have to accept this car and the concept doesn’t work and have a redesign for the second half of the season,” he explained to sky sports.
“In that case, what are you going to do? I can’t imagine the team wanting to copy someone else’s concept.
“With the cost cap and a 23-race season, it’s a really difficult situation that Mercedes finds itself in.
“The next race or two from here is key to solving the problem. Can they figure it out? Can they fix it?
“If they get the potential out of the car, I think they’ll be back in the game quickly.”
Mercedes is third this year Constructors’ Championship with 77 points, 47 behind Ferrari.
The team’s motorsport boss, Toto Wolff, acknowledged last month that Mercedes could face going forward.
“I wouldn’t say a concept is wrong,” he told the BBC. “But is there any part of what we’ve done that just doesn’t work with the regulations, and what is it?
“You don’t need to throw away the good, but if there are fundamental areas that don’t allow us to unlock the potential that we believe is in the car, then you need to cut your losses.”