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Mercedes knew limits of W14 F1 automotive idea earlier than Bahrain

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The German producer has had a troublesome begin to the brand new season, with its 2023 F1 challenger proving to be no match for the dominant Pink Bull workforce.

Straight after qualifying for the season-opener in Bahrain, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff stated that the squad had already thrown the towel in on its design idea and would start work on a completely new direction.

Whereas his feedback after only a single aggressive session prompted some to recommend the workforce was performing in haste, it has since emerged that Mercedes knew many weeks earlier than that it wanted to do one thing totally different.

Trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin has revealed that Mercedes had reached a conclusion concerning the limits of the W14 within the wind tunnel when it realised enhancements weren’t coming as simply because it hoped.

“You’ll be able to have a look at your growth charges within the wind tunnel, and earlier than we even obtained to Bahrain, there have been conversations about taking a look at larger [concept] departures,” defined Shovlin.

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“That is not taking a look at it in isolation for this yr’s automotive growth, it’s one thing we have completed over the course of the final 10 years.

“If you happen to’re not discovering the positive aspects you want, you make an even bigger change. You discover one other space and sometimes you need to unlock that.

“That had already occurred earlier than Bahrain. However maybe the urgency to try to convey these bits to the monitor has gone up following the early races.”

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Picture by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

One of many greatest adjustments that Mercedes plans to unlock within the early section of this season is a revision to its zeropod idea.

Nonetheless, Shovlin stated the workforce should overhaul different areas of the automotive as effectively if it needs to seek out the efficiency wanted to beat Pink Bull.

Requested to make clear what Wolff had meant by a change of idea, Shovlin stated: “Maybe we have adopted the phrase idea to imply sidepod.

“This automotive is an evolution of the automotive that we had final yr, and loads of that’s tied round the place we have the facet influence construction. So now we’re taking a look at larger departures as a result of it is evident that this hasn’t given us the efficiency that we would like.

“Saying that, there’s different areas of the automotive that we all know we have to enhance as effectively.

“It will be very misguided to assume if we go and put a special wanting sidepod on it, all of that hole goes to fade.

“The fact is that the overwhelming majority of that hole goes to have to come back from different efficiency areas. We have loads of initiatives for the time being attempting to convey efficiency over the subsequent 5 races.”

In addition to the work on the general idea, Mercedes faces a problem in attempting to get Lewis Hamilton extra comfy with the automotive as he’s fighting the dearth of rear finish stability.

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Shovlin stated that had been many elements of the W14 that wanted to be made higher for each Hamilton and George Russell.

“There’s issues the place the automotive hasn’t gotten entry stability, and meaning they have not actually obtained the arrogance with it,” he stated. “It may be a bit tough to convey the tyres in, and we’re sliding round an excessive amount of within the excessive pace.

“We’re taking suggestions from each drivers all through each session, and that is getting fed into the event course of. And, finally, I believe if we enhance the automotive for Lewis, we are going to enhance it for George as effectively.”

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