As preparations ramp up for the 2023 season, Speedcafe.com Method 1 Editor Mat Coch checked out each workforce and assessed their probabilities for the approaching 12 months.
2022 championship place: third, 515 factors
Speedcafe.com’s 2023 championship prediction: Constructors’ World Champions
There’s a lot to love about Mercedes because the 2023 F1 season attracts nearer regardless of a relatively lacklustre 2022 marketing campaign.
The Brackley-based squad grew accustomed to sweeping all earlier than it in the course of the earlier turbo-hybrid period, although Purple Bull mounted a stable problem to that in 2021.
Modifications to the aerodynamic rules final 12 months nonetheless noticed it topple from atop Method 1’s perch for the primary time in eight years.
Worst of all, for a very long time the workforce didn’t know why.
The automobile porpoised alarmingly and was something however confidence-inspiring for the drivers.
From a design perspective, the workforce had adopted a radical strategy, in contrast to what others on the grid had achieved.
The zero-pod idea, in principle, ought to have allowed for a extra controllable airflow however as a substitute, the unsupported flooring created points.
That meant the automobile needed to be run increased and, because of this, didn’t generate the identical degree of downforce because the workforce had hoped for.
From day one, the Mercedes F1 W13 was compromised and the workforce was taking part in catch-up.
That course of took a while with workforce boss Toto Wolff fairly rightly asserting that it made no sense to desert the automobile till the issues had been understood, or else they’d simply be replicated.
Within the latter third of the 12 months, Mercedes was on high of these points.
In fact, it was too little too late however its performances steadily improved and George Russell grew to become a race winner – a pipedream earlier within the season.
That spoke to the truth that Mercedes has understood the issue to the extent that, whereas they couldn’t engineer it out for 2022, they might set the automobile up round its foibles.
With 2023 firmly in thoughts, that’s promising because it suggests no matter went fallacious final 12 months – and technical boss Mike Elliot has mentioned it stemmed from one resolution made early within the design course of – might be prevented for the approaching automobile.
In fact, we don’t know precisely when that discovery was made, and precisely what it’s to know the way elementary it was to the F1 W13, and what that meant timing-wise for the event of the W14.
However, if the shape within the again finish of final 12 months is any information, and the very fact rules are remaining steady (other than some tweaks to flooring edges and the diffuser throat), Mercedes appears in a great spot.
The ability unit is powerful and the automobile is dependable. The design workforce appears to be on high of the rules. These are all sturdy optimistic marks within the W column.
Add in to that two top-drawer drivers who, publicly no less than, by no means let their heads drop and you’ve got a workforce able to return to the very entrance of Method 1.
Lewis Hamilton has given each indication that he’s as motivated as ever.
Although he’s now 38 years outdated (his birthday is January 7) he stays one of many sport’s premier drivers.
There’s zero doubt that he’s nonetheless bodily and mentally able to profitable championships, plural.
In 2022 he galvanised and led the workforce, contributing a lot to its technical exploration within the early races.
It’s a part of why George Russell, now a race winner, bettered him on the finish of the season, however to Hamilton ending second or nineteenth on the earth championship issues not a jot – there is just one place that issues.
And Hamilton has to enter 2023 as one of many favourites for that crown, along with Russell.
Mercedes has the technical energy and experience. It realized some onerous truths final 12 months however might be stronger for it.
James Vowles has departed nevertheless it’s virtually unimaginable that the operation was so depending on him that it’ll flounder.
Mercedes is a world-class operation, the most effective F1 has seen in its historical past, and there are sturdy indicators that it’s someplace near its best possible heading into 2023.
When you think about the uncertainty which surrounds Ferrari and the price cap penalty hanging over Purple Bull, maybe that is Mercedes’ 12 months as soon as extra.
You may keep throughout F1 all through the 2023 season with dates, drivers, key personnel and extra with Speedcafe.com’s Key Particulars reference, obtainable right here.