Mercedes “developing in one direction” after breakthrough “uncovered learnings”

Mercedes have finally identified “one direction” they need to develop to catch Red Bull, according to chief technical officer Mike Elliott.
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1

After a difficult 2022 campaign plagued by porpoising, Mercedes had high hopes for the second year of these regulations.

Right from the off, Mercedes struggled for pace, falling behind customer team Aston Martin.

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While things have steadily improved in F1 2023 - Mercedes sit second in the championship standings - they are still nowhere near close enough to challenge Red Bull.

Mercedes decided to change their car concept with a raft of upgrades in Monaco, while further fundamental changes will have to wait until next year.

In a Q+A on Mercedes’ official website, Elliott said he is hopeful Mercedes are now on the right path to return to the top.

“We’re engineers and are interested in the technology,” he said. “As Niki [Lauda] famously said, you learn more when you lose than when you are winning.

“I feel like it was a big learning journey through last year, and into this year. The hope is we’ve uncovered the learnings we need now, and we can keep developing in one direction.

“Sitting in my position, to look at things through a slightly wider lens, it’s nice to see the learnings. You then illuminate another bit of the path, and it gets clearer.”

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 13, Belgian Grand Prix, Spa Francorchamps,
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd…

Technical director James Allison conceded Mercedes were “too cautious” with the W14 following a significant rule change with the ride height over the winter hence their poor start.

“Although we made great strides last year, 2023 presented all the Teams with a rule change that offered some protection against bouncing,” he added. “Over the winter we faced a choice. Go aggressive and trade the bouncing protection in the rule change for performance, or take a more cautions route and steer clear of the sort of porpoising that wrecked our season last year. 

“We chose the cautious path, knowing that it would be less painful to correct if we were wrong. 

“The story of our year so far has been mostly about finding out that we had been too cautious and making the changes to correct that".

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