It’s too early to start trying to understand this year’s trends and the rule of waiting four races and seeing the data, which is normally used in F1, may be the best adviser, but it’s still something to remember. Mercedes-powered cars struggled last weekend. McLaren, Williams and Aston Martin had a race to forget. Mercedes, on the other hand, managed to secure a podium finish, which may indicate that the problem may not be with the engine. However, if we look at top speeds, we see that cars with Mercedes units were at the bottom of the chart. Only Alex Albon reached 316.7 km/h (best driver with a Mercedes engine) against Sergio Pérez’s 323.2 km/h in qualifying.
In this complex equation, we cannot forget that McLaren has problems with its new single-seater. From Aston Martin we heard right from his presentation that the team weren’t completely happy and that they were considering introducing a new version mid-season and Williams have already shown that they don’t have not made a qualitative leap and that it is still not very competitive. So there are basic issues in the three teams supplied by Mercedes that need to be ironed out before looking at the engine. Even Mercedes justified the poor top speed by too high a level of drag caused by the rear wing, this because it had not had time to produce new parts with lower drag. Toto Wolff said the engines are currently tied, admitting that Ferrari has taken a big step (it managed to get into the top half of the top speed chart, even when using a more aerodynamically supportive setup).
It’s too early to draw conclusions, but it seems clear that the power unit advantage Mercedes had is gone. But to understand if Mercedes has dropped in the ranking of the most powerful engines, we will have to wait one more race. If so, it comes at a very bad time, as freezing the engines for four years could give the HPP engineers at Brixworth a headache.
— Data Driven (@DrivenByData_) March 19, 2022