Mercedes could have a very strong 2013, according a tweet from prominent Formula One journalist Peter Windsor yesterday afternoon:
He could well have a point. Mercedes do have a significant budget, certainly one of the largest on the grid. A focused off-season could use those financial resources to make up much of the performance gap to the front-running teams. Added to that is the stability in the technical regulations, which limits the progress of the top teams who have already come close to maximising their aero development. And when the cars become very similar aerodynamically, the difference in performance becomes a combination of driver and engine.
Mercedes have secured the services of Lewis Hamilton from 2013, which will certainly provide a boost to the team. Hamilton is arguably the quickest driver in the field and will get the maximum available performance out of the car. Ross Brawn has already stated that the team’s aim is to win races next season. Hamilton forms a crucial part of that plan.
The Mercedes engine is widely reputed to be the most powerful on the grid. Strong performances for the Mercedes-engined cars at tracks that require power (Monza, Spa, Shanghai) confirm the Mercedes power advantage. With engine development still frozen for 2013, there is very little the other engine manufacturers can do to make up the deficit, which puts Mercedes at an immediate advantage.
Mercedes are very much the unknown for next season. They should be running at the front, but so far the team has struggled. Inevitably that struggle must end and, if Windsor is right, it could be as soon as the coming season.