Mercedes Identifies Critical Problems for Quick Resolution

Mercedes has provided insights into some of its significant discoveries during a rather underwhelming Japanese Grand Prix weekend.

The eight-time constructors’ champions delved into their findings from the Japanese Grand Prix, which followed a testing program aimed at enhancing the predictability of their car.

Struggling to adapt to the modern ground-effect regulations in Formula 1, Mercedes has faced challenges since the introduction of the new rules for the 2022 season. Amidst these challenges, the team has only managed to secure one grand Prix victory.

Despite abandoning its radical ‘zeropod’ concept midway through the previous year and transitioning to a more conventional car philosophy, Mercedes has yet to replicate the level of success enjoyed during the initial stages of the turbo-hybrid era, starting in 2014.

In the current season, Mercedes has garnered a mere 34 points from the first four rounds, narrowly leading Aston Martin by just one point in the battle for fourth place in the constructors’ standings.

During the recent Japanese round, George Russell and Lewis Hamilton secured seventh and ninth place finishes, respectively, in the W15.

Andrew Shovlin, the track-side engineering director at Mercedes, addressed the key insights from the weekend, explaining that the team had been striving to gain a better understanding of their car.

“The big program we were looking at was to try and get the car a bit more predictable through the weekend,” he said.

“What we found is that we can get it in a window but if the wind changes, the track temp changes, it quickly falls out of it and that was leading to poor performance in race and qualifying.”

However, the 50-year-old remains optimistic, viewing the situation not entirely bleak, as the team has made strides toward enhancing the car’s usability.

“There’s no doubt that we’re not where we need to be at the moment, we know that and we know that we’ve got work to do,” he admitted, before adding:

“Working with the car across the weekend was easier, the balance of the car was more consistent, there are issues that we need to get on top of and get on top of quickly.”

In recent times, Mercedes has grappled with unpredictability issues, leading to vastly different performance levels from one race to another, and even within individual sessions – a concern highlighted by Hamilton during the Australian Grand Prix.

Shovlin sees signs of improvement in this regard following the developments made during the Japanese program.

“But certainly, we seem to have a more stable platform, one where its behavior through the whole weekend is more consistent but as I said we know that there’s work to do and we’ll be working on that immediately.”