BBC technical editor, Gary Anderson, released a great article today (see it here) where he takes a look at the reason why Mercedes has been so off the pace since their dominant win in China, all those months ago. Anderson reckons that it has to do with the double DRS that Mercedes pioneered and is now banned for 2013. He argues that the system makes the car very difficult to set up properly and may be leading them up a blind alley developmentally.
Whatever the specific technical reasons, there is no doubt that Mercedes is seriously off the pace and in danger of being overtaken in the constructors by Sauber. This also does not bode well for next season. Development done to rectify and understand the double DRS will be useless next year as the system is banned.
More importantly, though, is that Mercedes apparently does not understand why they are so far off the pace, otherwise we would see improvement.
To me, these sorts of failures have more to do with the working environment than the amount of money being spent. There is no doubt that Mercedes are spending appropriately and that they have the technical expertise. Something, however, is not allowing these factors to come together in a winning way. Previously, I have written that the team lacks leadership (here) and I think that continues to be the case.
Their performance has been so terrible, however, that there must be more to it. I look to the drivers and wonder if this is really the measure of Nico Rosberg. I know Schumacher is significantly better than he was a couple of seasons ago but he has been hamstrung by reliability woes.
The team needs a serious rethink and maybe the driver market is a good place to start.