Mercedes will be “seeking optimisation absolutely everywhere” this season and there are “many areas” in which the dominant team “can still be much better”, Paddy Lowe has said after the launch of the new F1 W07 Hybrid.
Mercedes has set the standard since the V6 Hybrid power units came in two years ago, but despite successfully retaining both the Drivers' and Constructors' Championships in 2015, and winning 16 of the 19 races, Lowe is adamant there is room for further improvement.
“After a highly successful season all round in 2015, our priority has been to identify the areas in which we were weakest and to try to improve on those,” explained Lowe, Mercedes' executive technical director.
“Our objective is excellence in all areas and, while we had some fantastic results last year, there are many areas in which we can still be much better. That's the kind of culture we try to instill throughout the whole organisation - one of constantly striving to reach something better.
“We had a number of races that didn't go to plan in 2015 - Singapore in particular - so there were a lot of things that needed improving for 2016. We are seeking optimisation absolutely everywhere.”
With the rules relatively stable, Lowe added the new F1 W07 Hybrid is probably more evolutionary than revolutionary, although the squad has still tried to be as ambitious as possible.
“It's difficult to have a complete revolution when the rules have stayed pretty much the same year on year. But we aim to make minor revolutions wherever we can - even within a small context,” he continued. “We may look at a completely new packaging solution or suspension concept, for instance. So, while the car may look very similar to its predecessor from the outside - as is inherent within stable regulations - underneath there are quite a lot of mini revolutions that make up an overall evolution for the new season.”
Pressed on how difficult it is to find more performance given the stable regulations, Lowe added: “It's very tough and we were particularly pleased with how the car turned out in 2015 when we had the same situation. The team did a fantastic job - digging very deep to find all sorts of innovations in areas that might have been considered static. 2016 is another carry-over year from a regulatory point of view and potential gains inevitably become harder to find under these circumstances. This is what tests an engineering team the most and I must say that this team has been very good at that.”