Mercedes opts against 'entire new car' approach for first race

Mercedes Formula 1 team technical director James Allison says that the version of the W11 launched at Silverstone on Friday will not undergo significant change before the first race in Melbourne.

Mercedes opts against 'entire new car' approach for first race

Last year, when new front wing and other rule changes were confirmed at a relatively late stage, the W10 aero package changed dramatically after the first test, as new developments came through the system in Brackley.

Allison says that won't be necessary in 2020 as the rules have remained stable, allowing Mercedes to start testing with a close to definitive car.

"We will be more conventional this year," he said. "We will still have upgrades for Melbourne that will come in the second week of testing, but the 'entire new car' approach of 2019 won't feature.

"Last year, the regulations were changed quite significantly, and they were decided quite late in the year.

"Under those circumstances, doing a launch car and a week two car gave us the chance to build the maximum amount of learning into our Melbourne car.

"With the regulations being more mature this year, and with the opening stab of the 2020 development already being at the same level as the finish of last year's car, repeating last year's approach would not make sense."

Read Also:

Allison says that despite the stable rules, Mercedes has made some significant changes relative to last year's W10, because just developing the older car would not be enough.

"The regulations stayed largely the same for the new year, so for us it was all about trying to make sure that we don't run out of development steam on a package that worked pretty well for us last year.

"If we had continued merely to add flourishes to the 2019 baseline, we would have found some gains, but in all likelihood diminishing returns would be kicking in by now.

"We wanted to change aspects of the concept of the car – aspects that would be completely impossible to change within a season – to give us a more fertile platform for the new season.

"We tried to make a few well- chosen architectural changes to keep the development slope strong even though the regulations are now a little bit longer in the tooth."

 

Explaining the changes, he added: "On top of the conventional fare of winter development we made three investments: One at the front, one in the middle and one at the back of the car.

"At the front we have accepted more structural complexity around the uprights and wheel rims in order to provide a higher performance assembly overall.

"In the middle of the car we have followed the pitlane trend by moving our upper side impact tube to the lower position and banking the aerodynamic gain that comes with this layout.

"At the rear of the car we have gone for an adventurous suspension layout in order to free up aerodynamic development opportunity. All three investments were improvements in their own right, but their real effect is to mobilize a raft of secondary aerodynamic gains both during the winter
and, we hope, across the season to come.

"We have worked – as we would always – on every square millimetre of the car to try and find improvements in this stable set of regulations.

"We have been well rewarded by the amount of downforce we've found since the last race of last year, giving us faith that our three projects have provided a sound foundation to build performance that would not have been possible on the 2019
car."

Allison says that the new car is more efficient than its predecessor.

"Nothing much has changed in the regulations, and so the car will be running at very similar drag levels to last year.

"What has changed, of course, is that our efforts over the winter have increased the aerodynamic efficiency of the aerodynamic package, rewarding us with a car that generates a lot more downforce in exchange for that drag."

shares
comments
What's behind Mercedes' extreme new sidepods

Previous article

What's behind Mercedes' extreme new sidepods

Next article

Mercedes explains how W11 design tackles cooling issues

Mercedes explains how W11 design tackles cooling issues
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams Mercedes
Author Adam Cooper
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace Prime

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace

Lewis Hamilton led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one major encouraging sign for Red Bull. However, making good on that gain will require Max Verstappen to avoid repeating a mistake that left him well down the FP2 order...

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

Formula 1
May 6, 2021
What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Prime

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight.

Formula 1
May 5, 2021
The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Prime

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warm-up. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory Prime

The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory

Just as he did in 2020, Lewis Hamilton had to come from behind to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. Only this time there were two rivals he had to pass, among the several challenges he had to overcome, on his way to securing a 97th grand prix victory

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy Prime

The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy

Lewis Hamilton topped the crucial FP2 session on Friday as F1 returned to Portugal, but his Mercedes team cannot be sure it has the edge on its Red Bull rivals. As cool temperatures and wind combine with the still-slippery surface to present drivers with quandaries over set-up and tyre warmup, there's still everything to play for come qualifying.

Formula 1
May 1, 2021
How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion Prime

How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion

As a highly-rated Mercedes junior, George Russell is naturally billed as Lewis Hamilton's heir apparent where Britain's next Formula 1 champion is concerned. But he may face competition for that accolade from Lando Norris, fresh from a confidence-boosting run to third at Imola whose rise is being accelerated by his McLaren team’s revival

Formula 1
Apr 29, 2021