The main focus of its plan for the upcoming W15 is to create a vehicle that offers ample room for improvement and enables the team to achieve the same level of progress McLaren has achieved this year.
Since the implementation of the latest regulations last year, Mercedes had to prioritize resolving the bouncing problem that was widespread in 2022 and focus on firefighting.
The team heavily relied on various resources to modify its aerodynamic approach at the beginning of the season. They then focused on comprehending how to optimize the performance of the updated vehicle.
Shovlin expressed the team’s goal for 2024 to focus on enhancing performance while avoiding limitations on development options caused by early design decisions, which was a challenge with their previous sidepod concept.
“I cannot reword”
“As we continue to make advancements in this area, the process of car development primarily focuses on achieving optimal performance.”
“So you get less focused on a big list of things that you need to solve, and more just on where we can bring the lap time.
For the upcoming year’s car, our main objective is to ensure that the key decisions provide ample room for further growth and improvement. It is evident from this year’s performance of all the teams that they are consistently enhancing their capabilities throughout the year, and it is crucial for us to be able to achieve the same level of performance.
George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
“But as mentioned earlier, our main priority is not solely fixing these specific problems. Instead, we are exploring ways to improve our lap time and hopefully regain our position at the front of the grid, enabling us to compete for victories.”
Shovlin also revealed more detail on why Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were compromised early in the Hungarian race.
Both drivers were instructed to reduce speed and allow the vehicle to cool down in order to regulate temperatures, as the team realized that the current cooling capacity was inadequate.
“We encountered a problem where our cooling predictions resulted in insufficient cooling, so we are currently examining why it did not align with our expectations,” Shovlin explained. “As a result, we had to instruct the drivers to perform lift and coast.”
Before reaching the end of the straight, drivers ease off the throttle and enter the corner without using brakes initially. They only apply brakes at a later point.
“This aids in the cooling of the power unit, but it results in a loss of time during the lap. Additionally, it prevented both drivers from effectively pursuing the cars in front of them.”
Both drivers were able to increase their speed in the later part of the race after resolving the temperature problem. As a result, Hamilton finished in fourth place and Russell finished in sixth place, both making progress.
Shovlin mentioned that as the race progressed, they entered an area with less air disturbance, resulting in improved temperature conditions.
“We could allow them to initiate the assault on the preceding vehicles, which enabled us to demonstrate improved speed. Additionally, the deterioration of the tires was favorable.”
The latter parts of our stints were showing improvement compared to the initial parts. It was evident that there was a positive trend and George, in particular, delivered a commendable performance towards the end of the first stint where he was performing exceptionally.