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F1: Mercedes expect to fight for titles; Lewis Hamilton given hope by technical chief

James Allison, the Mercedes AMG Formula 1 team’s chief technical officer, is confident that the reigning Constructors’ Champions can challenge for titles this season. The 54-year-old believes the team can solve its “porpoising” issues within the next two to three races.

Mercedes’ start to the 2022 season was not as the team imagined as the cars struggled with handling issues throughout the opening Bahrain Grand Prix weekend. It was a problem that was clear during testing, but their gap to Ferrari and Red Bull – the top two teams – became clear in Sakhir during qualifying and the race.

Lewis Hamilton’s third-place finish in Bahrain was only courtesy of Red Bull suffering a double retirement for both Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez in the closing stages of the race. The Mercedes are clearly the third fastest car on the grid, and well off the pace compared to the front two.

Toto Wolff painted a bleak picture after the Bahrain GP, suggesting that the team cannot think of fighting for titles while struggling to get a handle on the car. Similarly, George Russell – the other Mercedes driver – was also not confident about how soon a fix for the porpoising issues could be found with races coming thick and fast this season.


Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton (left) and George Russell (right) pose alongside Mercedes chief Toto Wolff
Steve Etherington/MERCEDES-BENZ via AFP

However, Allison remains confident that Mercedes can get around the problem sooner rather than later. The Mercedes technical director revealed that they had already made good progress from testing to the first race, and expects that to continue going forward.

The former Ferrari designer remains confident that his team can not only overcome its current issues, but also close the gap and challenge at the front of the grid in the next two to three races. Allison confidence is certain to give a shot in the arm to both Hamilton and Russell going into the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix this weekend.

“Yes it’s challenging but actually after winter testing, I feared worse, and actually I think the performance improvement we’ve managed to deliver from winter testing to the first race, while perhaps not visible to the fans, and perhaps not reassuring to the fans, is reassuring in-house here at the team,” Allison said, as quoted by The Race.

“We intend to put these problems right as quickly as possible, hopefully in the next two-three races, but in any case, we will put it right and we’ll get our car at the front competing to allow us to pursue our dream of championship success.”

Lewis Hamilton
Back in business: Lewis Hamilton will race in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Giuseppe CACACE/POOL
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