ercedes face a “tense” period after starting another Formula One season on the back foot.
That is the view of Martin Brundle, who has described a change of atmosphere at the F1 team following comments from Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Seven-time world champion Hamilton described the Merc as “miles away” from the Red Bull as he finished fifth in what team principal Wolff dubbed “one of my worst days in racing”.
Underlining the lack of pace was the increasing unlikelihood of the Mercedes concept for the sport’s technical regulations, introduced last year, ever clicking into gear to create a title-winning car.
“It seems to me that Mercedes went the wrong way in 2022 and refuse to turn around,” ex-F1 driver Brundle wrote for Sky Sports.
“Even Lewis and Toto were openly expressing their disappointment at certain points of the weekend, and normally they only sing the praises of the teams at Brackley and Brixworth.
“It must be tense at the team factual now; the quality is there it just needs direction and oxygen to peaceful heads.
“Zero-sidepod concept is not the buzz phrase they’ll want to hear again, but the mantra from the team was that to change direction would necessitate a step backwards first before working up and understanding a modern philosophy of aerodynamics.
“George Russell has already said that he’s prepared to suffer that pain for longer term gain. They dogmatically turned the Mercedes into a late winning car last season, but I don’t see or hear the appetite for another year like that.”