Why Mercedes made an ‘unusual’ move off-track in Miami

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Mercedes are continuing to work on resolving the issues that have so far plagued their 2022 car, and in doing so made what F1 journalist Tom Clarkson has deemed to be an “unusual” move at the Miami Grand Prix.

Clarkson explained on the F1 Nation podcast that Mike Elliott, the team’s Technical Director, was on hand to support the Silver Arrows at the Miami International Autodrome.

This is something that he felt was suggestive of the team getting all hands on deck in an attempt to make progress with the W13.

Why Elliott’s presence in Miami was “unusual”

“Mike Elliott, [Mercedes’] new Technical Director, he was in Miami,” Clarkson said.

“It’s always quite unusual to see technical directors at flyaway
races this early in the season, because most of them are [still] back at
the factory, getting those first upgrades on the car, overseeing
things.

“So for Mike to be at the track in Miami I felt was unusual, and that
it pointed to them still trying to work out how best to run the car at
the track, and that he was just trying to guide the likes of Andrew
Shovlin and James Vowles, give them any help he can from set-up point of
view.

“Also, getting from them any ideas as to what they need to focus on back in the factory with upgrades.”

Spanish GP an important weekend for Mercedes

This comes ahead of what Clarkson believes will be a “huge race” for Mercedes at the Spanish Grand Prix.

It was a weekend of ups and downs for the squad in Miami, with the seemingly improved pace they displayed on Friday slipping away during Saturday and Sunday.

However, Clarkson has questioned whether this may still have helped the team in figuring out the direction they should go in.

“Perhaps that performance on Friday has given them a few pointers as to where they need to go,” he explained.

“And of course, they’re going back to Barcelona, where they first tested the car in February. That was a different spec car, it had the wider sidepods when they were there in February, so it will have given them slightly different data.

“But at least they can sort of back-to-back this car with what they saw back in February, so that the learning will continue.

“But, [regarding] the budget cap, how much have Mercedes spent on this car trying to sort it out? At some point, the money is going to run out, and they’re going to have to make a decision of, ‘Right are we going to switch everything on to the 2023 car?'”



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