James Allison sent email detailing his shock to Mercedes factory from Brazil

James Allison sent an email to the Mercedes factory in the aftermath of the F1 Sao Paulo Grand Prix explaining his surprise at their terrible performance.
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 21, Brazilian Grand Prix, Sao Paulo, Brazil,
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14. Formula 1 World Championship,…

Team principal Toto Wolff glumly described the race in Brazil as Mercedes’ “worst weekend in 13 years”.

It was, oddly, the scene of their most recent victory - George Russell won the grand prix a year ago, Mercedes’ sole win since the end of 2021.

Technical director Allison admits they were caught off guard by their uncompetitive weekend, telling F1 Nation: “Yes, of course we were. 

“I just wrote an email back to the factory saying that I feel knocked for six by it.

“We came here, it would’ve been too much to expect a repeat of last year’s win - the stars would’ve had to have aligned for that.

“But I felt like we’d be troubling the podium.

“You could say ‘you’ve been undone by your own hubris’.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that we’d have the torrid weekend that we just had.

“In some ways, there’s a comfort in that because we must’ve just got something wrong.

“We’ll go away and uncover what that was.

“We’ll come back and hopefully put it to bed.”

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Lewis Hamilton finished eighth and Russell retired while in 11th.

Their customer teams - Aston Martin and McLaren - outperformed Mercedes again.

Allison explained: “The main issues were hot rear tyres - which give you a snappier end, and the sort of tyre degradation that we saw.

“And also an annoying amount of understeer.

“When you’ve got a balance that’s all at sea, like that, it’s very easy to nibble away with every bit of throttle, every turn of the wheel, a bit of the tyres.

“The tyres were tender for everyone here.

“A single-lap pace which was okay very quickly became mediocre when we gobbled up our tyres.

“That’s normally a strength of ours so it’s particularly upsetting to weather that storm.

“Every weekend, the job is to land the car in a place where it can be as happy as can be. “Sprint weekends put pressure on that, because you get one go at that.

“We clearly haven’t landed it where it can do it’s best work.

“That’s not an excuse. It’s a sprint weekend for everyone. That one hour is what everyone has.

“We generally get that right, but not here.”

Allison has returned to his role as technical director in the wake of Mike Elliott’s exit.

Mercedes’ plans for their W15 2024 F1 car are underway in a bid to become competitive with Red Bull once again, with Allison again at the helm of development.

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