Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes back in F1 title fight this season fears Red Bull chief – if they can fix ‘porpoising’ issue

MERCEDES can return to the top of the pile if they fix their 'porpoising' issue, claims Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko.

The Silver Arrows have gotten off to a wretched start to the season, finding themselves miles off the pace set by Red Bull and Ferrari.

All is not lost for Lewis Hamilton and Co, however, if they can fix a key issue with their new W13 car.

Mercedes have struggled with 'porpoising' – an aerodynamic issue that sees the car bounce violently when at high speeds.

Hamilton in particular couldn't get to grips with it last time out in Saudi Arabia, as he shockingly bowed out in Q1 in qualifying before coming tenth in the Grand Prix.

Should they get their porpoising under control, however, Marko, 78, is "convinced" that they will force their way back into the title conversation.

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He told Formel1.de’s YouTube channel: "You have to distinguish between the two cases.

"The post-2013 era coincided with the new engine rules and Mercedes had incredible dominance at that stage. They were up to two seconds ahead of everyone, but logically they didn’t show it.

"Now, with the change of chassis and engine, the differences are not so big. Mercedes can no longer click and suddenly it’s a party for them.

"But the team are very well positioned and also have some really important people in the chassis area.

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"I’m completely convinced they will come back if they control the ‘porpoising’. And Lewis Hamilton is nine points behind Verstappen, so that’s nothing either.

"I don’t think it’s the end [of an era], but maybe we’ll have a battle on the same level."

Quizzed about Merc's engine struggles, Marko added: "I don’t know exactly why Mercedes have been left behind – surely it must have something to do with the increase in synthetic fuel, which went from five to 10 per cent.

"Logic points to an explanation being related to fuel. And, of course, when you lose so many important people… first Andy Cowell is gone, then another 50 people or so, so the impact is logical."

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Hamilton, 37, has arrived in Melbourne ahead of this weekend's Australian GP.

The Brit has achieved pole position on all of his visits to Albert Park since the dawn of the hybrid era in 2014, but faces a tough ask to extend that feat this time around.

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