‘Less spiteful’ - Mercedes' key targets for W15 F1 car revealed

James Allison says Mercedes believe they have eliminated a “spiteful” rear-end during the development of their 2024 F1 car. 
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14 leads George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14 leads George Russell (GBR)…

Mercedes’ technical director, who has committed his F1 future to the team by signing a “long-term” contract extension ahead of the new season, has opened up about the key development targets for the W15. 

Addressing handling weaknesses which plagued the rear-end of the W14 should make Mercedes’ new challenger “a bit more friendly” and a “happier thing”, according to Allison. 

A more stable rear was one of Lewis Hamilton’s main wishes for Mercedes to address with their 2024 car. 

“It’s impossible at this time of year to be anything other than apprehensive, coupled with excited, coupled with frightened,” Allison was quoted by Motorsport.com when asked about Mercedes’ challenge to return to the top. 

“Those are always the emotions that you feel, and I would imagine that even in Red Bull, after a year of such good performance, they will not be sleeping easy in their beds either because no one knows what everyone else will deliver.  

“However, what we do have some hope for is that some of the more spiteful characteristics of the rear end of our car will be a bit more friendly to us, and the handling of the car a happier thing.  

“That's all in simulation, but nevertheless we’ve got reasonable grounds to believe that we've made some gain there.” 

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 21, Brazilian Grand Prix, Sao Paulo, Brazil,
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd…

Allison added: “On top of that [handling], you've got all the normal housekeeping type stuff of just making it lighter, making it more downforcy and hopefully getting a bit of uplift from the power unit side, with the calibration level tinkering that they're still capable of doing under these current rules. 

“Whether it's enough, time will tell. But it's nevertheless going to be interesting because we saw some things we knew were problems. We have hypothesised what the reason for those problems were, and we fixed those reasons. It will be interesting to find out how accurate we've been with that diagnosis.” 

Mercedes failed to win a grand prix and suffered their first winless season since 2011 last year, while Red Bull absolutely demolished the competition, winning 21 of the 22 races. 

"We are absolutely a challenger rather than a favourite,” Allison admitted. 

"Nevertheless, we hope we have done a good job with the new car, and we hope we've addressed some of the shortcomings that were so publicly on display with it last year. 

“There is also just a little bit that nestles in the back of our heads, which is that the rules themselves have a much more sort of clear upper bound to them in the amount of lap time these cars are capable of producing. 

“It’s a much more clear upper bound to them than the older generation of cars, which the more love you gave them and the more labour you put into them, the faster they got, seemingly without end.  

“I think if you look at last year you see from the start of the season to the end of the season, although Red Bull's dominance was near complete and they didn't look vulnerable even to the last race of the year, if you look at the bigger picture, this is a grid that is gradually compressing.”

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