Mercedes 'Just Running Around In Circles' Says Herbert

Tuesday, 19 March 2024 at 09:18
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Former F1 driver Johny Herbert assessed Mercedes's development progress three after the first two races of the third season with new regulations.
We all know the story by now: Mercedes, the most dominant force between 2014 and 2021, missed the mark with its car concept in 2022.
Silver Arrows decided to pursue a concept slightly different from what everyone was doing, but they had significant issues with bouncing and couldn't make their car work for some reason.
The German team then thought they could still make the same concept work in 2023 but failed and decided to go with something completely new this year.
However, despite building a completely different car, it seems Mercedes just can't get rid of the bouncing issues, as it turned out during the 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, where Lewis Hamilton complained about it. Herbert told RacingNews365:

"They went through the winter, and they again said 'We know what we need to do', but they've come out of it, and it's the same. They are literally in the same position, with Lewis saying their problem is (pause) the bouncing again!"

"So they haven't been able to get rid of that, and that's a worry, because this is the third season effectively where they haven't got it, they're just running around in circles."

Toto Wolff clarified multiple times that he didn't want to wait for the change in regulations for his next opportunity to fight for the championship. However, Mercedes must find more than half a second per lap to match Red Bull's race pace. Herbert continued:

"It's quite a worry whether Mercedes will be able to turn it around in the future, and maybe that's 2026. That's the only saving grace, that there's a big change, and it might benefit them that way."

"But if you do look at these, let's say three years this year, it's not good, and there must be a big worry there."

The German team is currently fourth in the Championship, with George Russell scoring the best result of P4 during the first race of the season. So far, the Mercedes team hasn't been able to beat Ferrari or Red Bull. Herbert added:

"It's a worry for them because everybody else is getting better, like Ferrari, who have improved. The McLaren is better than it started last year, so they've improved, yet Mercedes are fighting for, what was it, sixth and ninth (in Saudi Arabia)? That's not what they're looking for."