The German producer has endured a difficult time for the reason that swap to ground-effect vehicles at the beginning of the 2022 marketing campaign.
Final yr’s W13 was blighted by porpoising, and the squad battled with a small experience top working window for the place its automotive produced downforce, which successfully pressured it to run very near the bottom.
This had a double whammy impact of risking bouncing because the downforce ranges elevated but additionally required the automotive to be run with stiff suspension that uncovered it to issues with bumpy tracks and kerbs.
For this yr’s W14, the crew aimed toward delivering downforce over a a lot wider vary of experience heights, which it felt could be helped by the FIA lifting the sting of the flooring by 15mm.
However it’s understood Mercedes ended up being too cautious with its experience top method. Having been shy of working near the bottom, it discovered itself working a lot larger than others – which left efficiency on the desk.
This has been confirmed by technical director James Allison, who this week stated the choice was prompted by it eager to keep away from the danger of porpoising issues.
“Though we made nice strides final yr, 2023 introduced all of the groups with a rule change that provided some safety in opposition to bouncing,” he stated.
“Over the winter we confronted a selection. Go aggressive and commerce the bouncing safety within the rule change for efficiency, or take a extra cautions route and keep away from the kind of porpoising that wrecked our season final yr.
George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14
Photograph by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
“We selected the cautious path, realizing that it could be much less painful to right if we have been improper. The story of our yr thus far has been principally about discovering out that we had been too cautious and making the adjustments to right that.”
The extraordinarily sophisticated nature of the present technology of vehicles, that are reliant on the harnessing of vortices beneath the ground, signifies that making a radical change of experience top means an virtually complete rethink of aero maps – one thing that isn’t actually doable mid-season.
As a substitute, it’s one thing that Mercedes feels can solely be addressed over the winter because it seems to its new automotive.
And having run too low in 2022, and too excessive this yr, chief technical officer Mike Elliott believes it’s got issues correctly addressed for its W15 2024 automotive.
Requested by Autosport if he felt Mercedes had pinpointed the candy spot, Elliott stated: “The true issue is, if you happen to have a look at the aero testing restrictions, you’ve got received so restricted a variety of runs, and you have to decide a route and go for it.
“When you go down the route of claiming I need to develop a automotive for prime experience top or low experience top, and I would like to have the ability to cowl all my bases, then out of the blue you would be doing like three runs per week on each and going nowhere.
“So, you need to kind of decide a route and go in it. Then, as you be taught, you may tweak that route and transfer it barely. I prefer to suppose we have kind of gotten ourselves into the fitting place for the winter.”
Mike Elliott, Expertise Director, Mercedes-AMG, in a Press Convention
Photograph by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Whereas Mercedes is devoting most of its focus to the 2024 automotive now, Elliott says that won’t cease it from creating its W14 as a lot as it may.
“I feel there’s nonetheless studying we will do, and there is nonetheless P2 to combat for within the championship,” he stated. “We’ll preserve creating, however clearly our prime focus now’s subsequent yr’s automotive.”
Elliott didn’t really feel that preserving work on creating this yr’s automotive would compromise any efforts for subsequent season, regardless that it’s anticipated to be a really completely different design.
“Basically, we need to be successful world championships,” he stated. “I feel that is our prime focus and we’ll put our efforts into doing that.
“I feel while you have a look at making an attempt to develop a brand-new automotive, while you’re making architectural adjustments, it is onerous to maintain that tempo within the tunnel. So, in precise truth, among the working we’re doing for this yr’s automotive is simply useful studying and it is useful studying on the monitor, with out actually hindering subsequent yr’s automotive.”