The eight-time constructors’ champions are without a race victory in F1 2022 – a win drought that stretches back to the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix last year.
To improve their chances of doing so, Mercedes will bring a new aero upgrade to Austin next weekend, trackside engineering chief Andrew Shovlin confirmed.
Shovlin explained that the new upgrade should benefit the W13 aerodynamically but help reduce some weight.
“It’s our final step of aero development and that will hopefully give us a bit more performance,” Shovlin said. “But importantly with every step, we are learning more and more and that learning we can carry into next year [F1 2023].
“Also, we have taken some weight out of components that will hopefully get the car closer to the weight limit. The team is making no predictions about the potential benefits of the package
“It’s very difficult for us to predict where we are going to be. In Singapore Lewis was awfully close to pole position, yet in Suzuka both cars had a big gap to the front.
“Now, our race pace has been reasonably strong. If we can make a step, hopefully we can get into the fight with the Ferraris and the Red Bulls, but qualifying for us is the really difficult one to predict at the moment. But as I said a lot of it is about learning and we are certainly going to give it our best shot in the final four races.”
Mercedes are unsure about how competitive they will be in Austin, given COTA’s bumpy track surface.
The German team has struggled at bumpier circuits given the sensation hampers the ride of the car and causes porpoising.
Shovlin added: “It’s a tricky circuit and it was a tricky circuit for us last year. It was very bumpy, there was a lot of overheating as well from the tyres, and we weren’t performing as well as Red Bull were on the softer tyres.
“They have done some resurfacing so hopefully those issues with the bumps are a bit less. But what’s very hard this year is to really know where you are going to be on the circuit before you’ve gone there.
“We will not really be going to make any predictions about where we are going to perform, we just need to go there on Friday, see what kind of issues we have, and then see whether we can solve those with set-up.”