It could be “the summer break” – or even longer – before Mercedes manage to solve the problems that will keep the reigning champions behind Ferrari and Red Bull in 2022.
The Brackley based team is suffering from two obvious problems so far in the new rules era – excessive ‘porpoising’ on top of notably lacking top speed.
Toto Wolff denies Ferrari has simply raced ahead in the engine department.
“I don’t think there is a significant difference between the power units of the different manufacturers, although Ferrari’s progress is obvious,” he said.
The team boss also said engineers will “take a chainsaw” to the 2022 car’s rear wing before this weekend’s Saudi Arabian GP to tackle drag.
According to George Russell, however, the biggest problem is the porpoising caused by the new ground effect cars.
“It’s promising to see that other cars have had the same issue and they managed to solve it which means there is a solution there,” Russell said.
“But we are struggling to find it. It would have been brilliant if we solved it in testing where we had so much running, but we truly just don’t know how long it will take.”
Lewis Hamilton’s new teammate said he has no idea if a solution will be found “next weekend or after the summer break”.
“We hope it will be as soon as possible,” said the 24-year-old, “but there is no reason why it may not continue the whole year.”