Mercedes does not anticipate being as competitive at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

James Vowles, head of strategy at Mercedes, predicts that Ferrari will rebound in the Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix, making life harder for his team than it did in Mexico.

Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes at Imola. (Image: Twitter/ Mercedes-AMG-PETRONAS F1 team)
By Mahaksh Chauhan | Nov 4, 2022 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Due to considerations made by the Italian team to maintain dependability at the high-altitude track last weekend, Ferrari visibly lost its form, giving Mercedes the opportunity to challenge Red Bull. Brazil’s altitude is still a problem, but it’s not as severe, and the reduced downforce levels won’t help the W13 as much as they did in Mexico City. According to Vowles, the Brackley team also benefited from an update package that was started at the US GP and then finished with a new front wing in Mexico.

In a Mercedes debrief video, he said, “I think there are a few elements that came together at the same time.” “The first is that we installed a sizable upgrade kit in Austin, which did advance us, and that proof was actually considerably more convincing in Mexico. “The second is that we do exceptionally well when using maximum downforce, and this was demonstrated at Zandvoort, Budapest, for example, and it was the same in Mexico. “Everybody in Mexico was actually using their largest rear wing and the most allowable amount of downforce. It’s difficult to predict how it will perform in the following two races. In the case of Mexico, it appeared somewhat as though the Ferrari had retreated, but I have a feeling that won’t be the case going ahead.

Close Fight with Ferrari ?

Vowles acknowledged that it was challenging to forecast the form for the last two races. He predicted that it would change significantly from track to track. “The distance between Ferrari and us won’t be as great as it was in Mexico. It will be a really close match between our two teams since they will be closer in Brazil and Abu Dhabi. “They still have the advantage over us as compared to Red Bull. Although I don’t think it will be as much as the three tenths they had over us in qualifying, it will be noticeable in the upcoming races. As the season’s finish draws near, Vowles acknowledged that the general trend is favourable. “We are moving closer and closer to where we are today, which is that we are within a whisker of competing for our first win, compared to where we were at the beginning of the season, where at times we were struggling to get out of Q1 or into Q3. We have made progress.

“In Brazil, there is a sprint race where we can gain more points, and it’s a track where both of our drivers have historically performed well. And you can influence events if your automobile is only a few tenths slower than the opposition. But according to him, the team will probably fall short in Mexico to both RBR and Ferrari. “It’s really difficult to predict before a race, but I don’t think we will quite enjoy the same degree of competition; it won’t be substantially different, but it might be a tiny step backward, and I certainly expect Ferrari to be closer than they were in Mexico. “Yes, it’s higher than usual; I believe the altitude is roughly 700 metres above sea level, but there are other factors at play, such as the track’s design and the drivers’ downforce settings. We perform exceptionally well on these high downforce circuits, as I’ve already indicated, but that’s not what Brazil is about to see.

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Not Giving up

After closing the distance in Mexico, Vowles emphasised that the goal is to remove Ferrari from second position in the constructors’ championship. “Our internal purpose is pretty clear,” he stated. “Every race in which we can start closing the points gap is a success. Our goal is to finish second in the championship. “There are still 40 points to be earned with two races, one of which is a sprint race, after we only took 13 of their points in Mexico. In contrast to the beginning or the middle of the season, I believe we now have a package that can truly bring the fight to them. But 40 points is a lot to ask for; we must truly do everything perfectly; Ferrari may even offer us chances to put ourselves in position to finish second. “What I can tell you is that until the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi, we are not giving up.”