Mercedes F1 “Grasping the limits of the W14 concept before arriving in Bahrain”[]

Mercedes F1 knew even before F1 testing and the first race in Bahrain that the concept of the car needed to change. Mercedes F1’s 2023 car, the W14, has turned out to be no match for the overwhelming Red Bull team, making the start of the new season difficult.

Shortly after qualifying for the season opener in Bahrain, Mercedes F1 team principal Toto Wolff said the team had already thrown in the towel on its design concept and was embarking on a whole new direction. Some suggested the team was in a hurry after making the remark in just one session, but since then Mercedes has realized for weeks that it needs to do something different. It was revealed that Trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin revealed that Mercedes F1 had been figuring out the W14’s limits in the wind tunnel and realized the improvements weren’t going as planned. “You can see the development rate in the wind tunnel. Even before we went to Bahrain, there was talk of finding a starting point for a bigger concept,” explains Shovlin. “That’s what we’ve been doing over the last ten years, not just looking at the development of this year’s car.” “Often you want to explore an area and unlock it.” “Before Bahrain, it had already happened. But maybe after the early races there was an urgency to bring that part to the circuit. increased. “One of the biggest changes Mercedes plans to unlock early this season is a revamp of his Zero Pod concept. But Shovlin said the team will need to overhaul other parts of the car as well if it wants to find the performance it needs to beat Red Bull. Asked what Wolff meant by “concept change”, Shovlin said, “Maybe you’re using the word concept to mean sidepods.” “This car is an evolution of last year’s car, a lot of it has to do with the side impact structure, so it’s clear that this isn’t giving us the performance we want, so it’s a bigger departure. “However, we know there are other things that need to be improved on the car. “I don’t think changing the look of the sidepods will close all those gaps. “It would be very misplaced.” In addition to working on the overall concept, Mercedes also faces the challenge of getting Lewis Hamilton more familiar with the car, which suffers from a lack of rear-end stability. Shovlin said there are many areas where the W14 needs to be better for both Hamilton and George Russell. “Sometimes the cars don’t have entry stability, which means they don’t have confidence in the car,” said Shovlin. “It’s a little bit difficult to switch on the tires and they slide too fast,” he said. “Throughout the session we got feedback from both drivers and that was reflected in the development process and ultimately the car for Lewis. I think if we improve on that, we can improve for George.”

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