Allison explains misconceptions around Mercedes ‘concept’ and hints at new look

James Allison has hinted that Mercedes’ 2024 F1 car will look different to its predecessors due to changes made to the team’s processes. 
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 22, Las Vegas Grand Prix, Las Vegas, Nevada,
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14. Formula 1 World Championship,…

After winning eight consecutive constructors’ world championships, Mercedes have ceded top spot in F1’s pecking order to Red Bull over the past two seasons, winning just one race since a major regulation overhaul in 2022. 

Mercedes abandoned their controversial concept early in 2023 after realising they had made a mistake in sticking with the troubled design, which is set for wholesale changes for 2024. 

At the end of last year, team principal Toto Wolff revealed Mercedes would be changing almost “every component” on their W15 challenger, which will be unveiled on February 14. 

Speaking to Sky, Mercedes technical director Allison shed some light on key changes made behind the scenes as the team heads into what is set to be a crucial campaign.

"To the mind of a designer or a performance person in F1, concept is actually nothing to do with the car,” Allison said of the phrase ‘concept’. 

"It's about a process by which you decide what good looks like, and what bad looks like. It's your methodology for sort of sieving out all the many, many things you might put on the car and finding only the ones that you really think are going to add lap time, it's method. The car itself is just the output of that method.

"So when you talk to us about concept, we're hearing, 'What, you think our wind-tunnel weighting system wasn't right?' And we've changed that, or our way of meshing in CFD was wrong and we've changed the concept of that.

"That's what concept means to us and the car just pops out at the far side of that when we apply that process and that concept.

"So, of course the last two years have required us to adjust our approach and our methodology, our concept, if you will, and as a result of that the hardware that pops out the far side of that, will necessarily be different hardware, because it's defined by different decisions and different weightings of what's important and what isn’t.

"You get all excited by the end result, but actually our fate is made by the approach."

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