Mercedes Reveals Major W15 Breakthrough

Mercedes has announced notable progress with their W15 F1 car following the Japanese Grand Prix. The team is confident they have gained insights into optimizing the performance of their challenging W15 F1 car after the recent race in Japan.

Despite being eight-time constructors’ world champions, Mercedes has faced a disappointing start to the 2024 season. Their latest F1 challenger, the W15, has proven to be inconsistent despite undergoing conceptual changes during the winter break.

The Suzuka weekend initially showed promise for Mercedes, but it culminated in their poorest result in over a decade. George Russell managed to salvage a seventh-place finish, with teammate Lewis Hamilton trailing two places behind.

However, Mercedes is optimistic about a breakthrough they have achieved concerning the W15’s stability. According to Andrew Shovlin, Mercedes’ trackside engineering director, the focus has been on enhancing the car’s predictability throughout the race weekend.

He mentioned in the team’s recent debrief video, “The big program we were looking at was to try and get the car a bit more predictable through the weekend.”

This indicates that Mercedes believes they have found a “more stable platform” with the W15, marking a significant step forward in addressing their performance challenges.

“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.

“Now 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. But certainly 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. 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.”

After an early red flag disrupted the race, Mercedes initially opted for a one-stop strategy by transitioning to Hard tires. However, they decided to abandon this strategy due to a lackluster opening stint.

“We stayed out a bit longer on that second stint to build a bit of a gap. We may have benefited from a Safety Car but there wasn’t one. But you don’t want to stay out so long that you can’t then catch up,” Shovlin elucidated.

“We’ve done the analysis on the tyre curves now and the hard and the medium don’t look very different. It was certainly cooler at the end of the race which may have been helping. But the second stint and the third stint were okay.

“So, we know that we’re not quick enough, we know that there’s a good-sized gap to Red Bull that we need to close down and there’s a bit of a gap to Norris, to the Ferraris that we need to work on. But certainly, the performance of the car was where we expected it to be, in stint two and stint three.”