28 June 2014
Lowe: Silverstone will test limits of Mercedes F1 aero
Mercedes' technical team expects to see the F1 pacesetter's main rivals giving it another run for its money at the British Grand Prix.
Paddy Lowe, executive director (technical) at Mercedes AMG Petronas, admits that the forthcoming British Grand Prix could provide perhaps the sternest test yet of the team's all-conquering W05 Hybrid.
With only Daniel Ricciardo's surprise victory in the Canadian Grand Prix – when both Mercedes fell foul of NGU-K failures – blotting the Brackley team's copybook in 2014, the championship leaders head to Silverstone as firm favourites to take a eighth victory in nine races, but Lowe insists that the British Grand Prix venue will not necessarily play to the silver car's strong points.
With very few low-speed corners, and medium and high-speed turns prominent, the circuit presents a very different challenge to most of the venues visited so far this season, and offers a rare chance to take the fight to the Mercedes, which has so far relied more on the grunt from its new V6 engine than superior aero efficiency.
“We very much enjoyed returning to Austria and will look forward to going back there again in the coming years but, for now, we look ahead to Silverstone and a different challenge to anything we've seen so far this year,” Lowe confirmed, “It's a very fast circuit layout which tests aerodynamic performance to the very limit.
“We demonstrated our competitiveness there last year with victory for Nico [Rosberg] and equally with pole position for Lewis [Hamilton] - who was extremely unfortunate not to achieve the result he deserved with his tyre failure in the race – and we're very much hoping that our strong form will continue.”
Despite question marks over the W05's ultimate performance, Mercedes will start the weekend as overwhelming favourite, and Lowe hinted that Hamilton will once again be allowed to take the fight to Rosberg even with the German comfortably in charge in the championship standings.
“We are looking forward to seeing another tightly-contested battle between our two drivers,” Lowe said, “It was a great result for the team to get another one-two finish in Austria - even more so considering our below-par grid positions. For Lewis, in particular, to come through from ninth place and be fighting at the front was an impressive performance, while it was also immensely satisfying to see seven of the top ten cars powered by Mercedes-Benz. While it was a less than straightforward weekend for us, the event itself was fantastic.”
With Williams pushing Mercedes all the way in Spielberg, the man in charge of the Brackley team's operations insists that focus will be vital in the second half of the season.
“We were delighted to get another top result in Austria, but our weekend was one of the toughest so far this season, with a qualifying performance which did not match our expectations” Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes-Benz motorsport, confirmed, “To bounce back with another one-two finish was highly satisfying - particularly as our rivals pushed us harder than ever throughout the race.
“This demonstrates once again how crucial it is to remain 100 per cent focused on the task at hand. We can afford no mistakes if we are to achieve our goals, as there will always be someone waiting to punish those mistakes. There are certain teams in particular who have a record of success [at the British Grand Prix], so we are taking nothing for granted. It is up to us to ensure that our motivation is the highest of all as we look to put on a show for the incredible Silverstone crowds.”
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