Mercedes have been a force majeure in F1 for more than a decade, with the Mercedes AMG Petronas team bagging seven Drivers’ Championship wins and eight consecutive Constructors’ Championship victories since its formation in 2010. The team, better known by many as the Silver Arrows, is fronted by British racing legend Lewis Hamilton, whose win record with Mercedes puts him on par with Michael Schumacher for F1 Championship titles.
However, despite strong showings in 2021 – culminating in a hotly-contested second-place loss to Max Verstappen and the Red Bull team – Mercedes’ start to the 2022 season has been something of a damp squib. Their new W13 car design has experienced numerous issues on the track, significantly affecting the team’s overall standing.
The Era of Mercedes
Mercedes has enjoyed decades of success as a car manufacturer and brand, producing luxury and high-quality cars on a commercial basis for customers around the world. Mercedes cars are well-renowned for their build precision and reliability, justifying a relatively high price tag with the long-term value of their vehicles – value that can only be adequately protected with Mercedes gap insurance. Their forays into the running of racing vehicles began with Grand Prix racing in the 1930s, with a brief stint as Daimler-Benz AG in the mid-1950s.
Mercedes returned to F1 proper in 2010, with the formation of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One team – though it wouldn’t be until 2014 that the ‘Mercedes Era’ officially began. In 2013, Lewis Hamilton joined the racing team alongside Nico Rosberg; the following seasons would see Hamilton win six championships for the Mercedes team, cementing their place as one of the all-time greatest teams in Formula One history.
Issues with W13
Hamilton’s decisive 2020 F1 victory, and controversial loss to Verstappen in 2021, showed that Mercedes continued to be in powerful form – but their progress has been stymied at the start of the 2022 season, owing to issues with the new W13 car. Myriad issues have historically poor results for the team, with Hamilton being lapped by Verstappen in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. The team believes they have found several routes to rectifying the issues, but the damage has been done; Hamilton and the team have stated they are no longer looking at a championship title bid this season.
The F1 Championship as it Stands
Mercedes’ early season fall from grace has had a marked effect on the leader boards for the 2022 F1 championship, as Max Verstappen now seeks to defend his Championship title from current championship leader Charles Leclerc. Verstappen is a close second in the leaderboards, having suffered his own issues in Bahrain and Australia – leading to a 19th place finish and an early race retirement respectively. Hamilton sits at 7th place, with teammate George Russell performing better at 4th.