Why The Mercedes Formula One Team Is Not Competitive Again This Season
Pretty obvious statement, but we see this repeated over and over again by sporting teams. Holding on to what you have by planning a progression of replacing players or staff members is crucial to maintaining a winning habit.
Today was the qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Formula One Grand Prix and another dismal day for Mercedes. More like another dismal season lies ahead and the team is to blame for the position they now find themselves in. A team that had won 8 constructor titles in a row are now floundering with the only realistic chance of being the 4th best team on the grid.
You have to rewind 2 years to see where and how the winning formula was lost. Red Bull Formula One signed an agreement to take over the power train/engine development allowing Honda to concentrate on electric engines. This meant they needed engineers to run the facility and the only place to find these engineers is within the sport.
At the time there were rumors that Mercedes were battling to hold on to staff members as Red Bull were offering top dollar for recruitment. The latest reports suggest as many as 50 engineers jumped ship from Mercedes to Red Bull Racing and it is no surprise why Red Bull has been so dominant ever since.
Mercedes lost the brains behind their winning success and Toto Wolff should have protected his team more by offering or matching whatever Red Bull was offering. Money talks and with the budget caps losing a few engineers would be reasonable, but never 50 including the leadership. Toto Wolff should have fought to keep the team together instead of walking away thinking they had all the bases covered with the remaining staff.
How many engineers moved from Mercedes to Red Bull?
Team advisor Helmut Marko said around 50 people had left Mercedes to join Red Bull including Ben Hodgkinson, who was head of mechanical engineering at the Brixworth operation and is due to join Red Bull in May.
Mercedes was always known for their development pushing the technology and rule book to the limit. Who can forget their DAS steering wheel which helped warm up the tyres.
“You’re not telling me you take out the head of mechanical design, the head of their energy recovery system, the head of manufacturing…that that doesn’t have an effect?”
James Allison the head of development and is an aeronautical engineer left the team in 2021 to go and assist their 33% team shareholder and sponsor INEOS. This was to help prepare and design the INEOS sailing boat for the next Americas Cup. This downturn in form for the Formula One team was not expected and thankfully was recalled this month to take over and fix the problems with the racing team.
Every season we saw Mercedes out perform the competition by making subtle changes harvesting seconds, improving their performances. This is what Red Bull have been doing as they basically have a Mercedes think tank working for them. This core group of engineers only knows how to win and what it takes yet they were all allowed to leave.
Mercedes this season have already admitted that the car design is wrong and the choices they made were a mistake. You have to ask questions as to who is making these decisions as they have backfired terribly. We all knew last year that the car 's design was not performing so why did they stick with it for another season?
James Allison being recalled is not about fixing the problem this season as this is already too late, but more about working on the car for next year making wholesale changes and starting from scratch. The Red Bull engineers know full well what James Allison can do and expect a different set of results and a far more competitive car next year.
What makes no sense is the Mercedes Formula One Team management thinking they are good enough even if they lose a huge chunk of their staff as it has proven they are nowhere close. valuable lessons have been learned along the way as you are only as good as your weakest link. It doesn't matter of you have the best drivers on the planet if you cannot give them a competitive car to race.
It is true you have to fail in order to succeed but to fail after you have experienced success for so many years is a bitter pill to swallow. At the time I thought Mercedes would bounce back after the first year, but it is clear this is not the same team and rebuilding ahs to take place. Planning ahead making sure you keep your team intact along with attracting the best brains possible has to be part of their strategy moving forward.
IMO yes they were wrong on the new car design, thats understandable and anyone can make that mistake but what I really dont understand is how they are not taking Hamilton recommendations for this year car desing, last week he made it public that the team was not listening to him, I understand Russell out perform him last year but a 7 time world champion must have some insight so its not only that their design is wrong also they are not paying attention to their best driver, probably best of all times (probably), it all comes back to the "To big to fail" that was Mercedes last year, few days ago some F1 commentator mention Mercedes could be 1.5 years behind the rest of the top teams after all this mistakes, I want them to get better as I like Hamilton as a driver and want more competition at the top of the grid
The truth is they cannot change that much due to the costs involved. The side pods are the problem and would requite a new build that they cannot do due to testing criteria. The season is over as far as the team is concerned as now they fight for the minor places. Budget caps was a big thing 2 years ago and teams cannot make such big errors in judgement. I would sack the head of car design as he has failed 2 years in a row. Luckily James Allison is now back, but his job is to design next years car.
True, I hope the get things together and figure this out, would love to see 3 teams constantly and closely fight for the top of the grid
I think Mercedes should not allow those 50 enginners to leave the company, they should have risen their salaries to what Red bull was offering. No doubt they lost the battle their and now in the field they are far behind the Red Bul. I hope they will learn from their mistake and will recurut all the lost brain by offering more salaries then the Red bull currently offereing and they will be back in the game.
Sounds like Red Bull is a bit like Man City and either sold the project or just paid them big $$$$. 50 engineers is a huge number! That's like a Premier League team losing their entire backline and goalkeeper in one offseason!
How do you still not have a profile pic on your account btw?
Waiting for POSH Pets? :D
Lol. I had one and somehow it disappeared. Maybe I should rectify this, but never saw it as a major issue.
Yeah not really an issue ^^
I saw an interview recently where Toto was talking about how "on paper" their currentdesign must have been very good but it can be clearly seen that it is not.. I wonder if there was somebody wantig to prove himself in the new team and purposely sabotaged the results on paper. Fruthermore, I think that having around 50 engineers leaving the team is a huge loss and it was probably an easy thing to avoid. In the end I feel like that the engineering stuff cost is almost othing compared to the actual car.
I am hoping that they will cahnge their design in this season but there is very little margin to actually improve the car I am afraid.
Apparently they will have a new car within the next 6 races that is more competitive. The engineers cost big money as the top ones earn hundreds of thousands of dollars. If there was no budget cap then they would have not have lost them in the first place.