Mercedes’ Struggle with W15 Inconsistency

Mercedes is gearing up for an aggressive push with a fresh wave of upgrades slated to make their debut at the upcoming Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Imola.

Acknowledging a critical obstacle, the team is grappling with its own inconsistency throughout a race weekend, which poses a challenge to the Brackley squad’s capacity to fully exploit the performance enhancements targeted by its updates.

The initial phase of the upgrade package was put into action by Mercedes during the Miami race. While Andrew Shovlin, the Trackside Engineering Director, confirmed in a post-race debrief video that the components performed as anticipated, a more significant issue looms large.

Shovlin candidly acknowledged that the pace of development among their rivals, coupled with lingering challenges with their own car, complicates the task of witnessing tangible progress from the W15 on the track.

“We managed to pull forward about half of our update kit to Miami and then the other half is going to arrive in Imola, and we are working hard on the future races to try and bring developments to them as well,” Shovlin remarked.

“Did it work as expected? Yes, it all looks like it is delivering the performance that we were hoping for from the floor.

“The issue at the moment is everyone else is developing their cars, so you saw McLaren with a big package and they look to have moved forward and also the handling issues that the drivers are having to battle with are making it hard to really see all that performance as a straight sort of step forward.

“What we tend to find is that the car from session to session can behave quite differently and until we get on top of that, we are always going to blunt the benefit that we can get from these type of updates.

“But after the last few races, we have got now a very clear idea of what we need to do to the car to get it handling a bit more easily for the drivers, making sure it goes where they want it to go when they are on those important qualifying laps.

“And we have also got quite a good sort of thread of updates that will be coming over the next three or four races. A lot of hard work is going on, but hopefully we will start to see the fruits of that soon.”

As Mercedes maintains its focus on the imminent challenge at Imola, Andrew Shovlin provided a peek into the future, hinting at tracks where the W15 could excel.

The British engineer singled out one circuit in particular as advantageous terrain for their car, indicating that its features might facilitate a more seamless unleashing of the car’s performance.

“Coming up, we have Monaco, Montreal and then Barcelona,” he outlined. “You have two circuits that are predominantly low-speed corners, certainly Montreal, it is all low speed.

“And then you have Barcelona, which with its new layout, where they have removed the chicane, is an extremely fast circuit. A lot of mid-speed and very, very, very high-speed corners.

“So quite a range for us to deal with. We are not expecting we are going to go to Monaco and suddenly be looking extremely quick. But what you can find is that the subtle differences in those tracks can expose those weaknesses a little bit less.

“If you took somewhere like Montreal, you are only dealing with one speed range, it can be a bit easier to get the car in the window. We all do all the normal preparation work, but fundamentally, we need to develop our way out of this problem by bringing performance updates to the car.

“That is what we are working on. And then at the track, we will just try and optimize what we have got as best we can, pick up as many points as we can in the meantime. It is really those two areas that we are working on simultaneously.”