2 February 2015
Mercedes F1 2015 Launch: Team pushing harder than ever, insists Lowe
Reigning F1 world champion Mercedes has not been resting over the winter, as Paddy Lowe and his team prepare to defend their titles in 2015.
Mercedes executive director of technical matters, Paddy Lowe, confirmed that no stone has been left unturned as Mercedes prepares to defend its two F1 world titles, but admits that the team has also had to guard against going too far in its developments.
As the Three Pointed Star took the wraps off its new W06 ahead of testing in Spain, Lowe conceded that the team could have been tempted to push too hard in search of a new competitive edge. As the new F1 age of hybrid power evolves, so the requirements for improved safety, reliability, efficiency and performance increase and, while an intensive design phase - combining incremental gains and targeted innovation – helped produce the W06, which delivers mechanical, structural, aerodynamic and weight-saving improvements over its title-winning predecessor, the team had to know when to rein in its ambition.
"The key factor from our perspective is avoiding complacency," Lowe noted, "Expectations are now high and a lot of assumptions are being made about our potential this season. Internally, however, we are fully aware that you can never afford to stand still in any sport - particularly F1.
“We are up against competitors with a great history of success and, like us, they will not be content unless they are winning. As the old motor racing adage goes, you are only as good as your last race. This time last year, with the new hybrid technology yet to hit the track, we went to Silverstone for a filming day and were genuinely surprised to see the car drive out of the garage! Second time around, we may be over the initial hurdles of the new formula but we keep them fresh in our minds, as it demonstrates that nothing can be taken for granted. The only thing that is in our control is the ability to do the very best we can in every area.”
With 16 wins from 19 races in 2014, the W06 has big shoes to fill, but Lowe confirms that Mercedes has been working hard to give the newcomer every chance.
"Of course, like every other team on the grid, we have been pushing harder than ever to find areas for performance gains but, at the same time, we must ensure we are moving in the correct direction,” he cautioned, “One of the risks with car development is that attempting forward steps can easily turn into rearward steps. You have to take risks to progress - but those risks must be carefully managed in order to produce a car that is better than its predecessor. This has been an underlying theme for the team over the winter.
"It is an evolutionary process and this also includes the regulations themselves. Relative to last winter, these have remained reasonably stable into 2015, but this is certainly not to say that the cars we see take to the track in Jerez will be near-replicas of their predecessors. Some changes will be more visually obvious, of course, but the devil is in the detail.
“Beneath the covers there have been a raft of developments from both a chassis and power unit perspective, all aimed at creating a car that is safer, more efficient, more reliable and ultimately faster. With the hybrid era still very much in its infancy, there is plenty of scope for innovation, but the challenge at this stage is to find the key areas for performance gain based not just on what we have learned a year further down the line, but also on where there is room for exploring new and innovative sources of competitive advantage."
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