Mercedes Formula 1 team was aware of its car limitation well before the Bahrain testing started. The diagnosis of its long-standing issues revealed the inherent design problem. It concluded to re-vamp its approach toward the concept design.
The German outfit struggled to find its lost legacy of competing for the championship title this season. Its W14 challenger remains no match to the championship defending team, Red Bull, cars.
After the season opening qualifying session in Bahrain, Toto Wolff, the head of Mercedes, admitted to abandoning the current design. He announced that the team plans to embark on an entirely new approach.
Based on Wolff’s remarks, some people speculated that the decision was hasty. However, it revealed that the team knew many weeks earlier to work on entirely different design.
Shovlin on Mercedes W14
Andew Shovlin, trackside engineering director for Mercedes, claims that team has marked the limitations of the current design. It established it claim after putting its head through the wind tunnel results of W14. The improvements did not bear the expected results.
“You can look at your development rates in the wind tunnel, and before we even got to Bahrain, there were conversations about looking at bigger [concept] departures,” explained Shovlin.
“That’s not looking at it in isolation for this year’s car development, it’s something we’ve done over the course of the last 10 years.
“If you’re not finding the gains you need, you make a bigger change. You explore another area and often you want to unlock that.
“That had already happened before Bahrain. But perhaps the urgency to try and bring those bits to the track has gone up following the early races.”
The team is expected to modify its zeropod concept in early phase of this season. However, Shovlin insists that it requires major overhaul to find itself in competing space against Red Bull.
Shovlin said: “Perhaps we’ve adopted the word concept to mean sidepod.
“This car is an evolution of the car that we had last year, and a lot of that is tied around where we’ve got the side impact structure. So now we’re looking at bigger departures because it’s evident that this hasn’t given us the performance that we’d like.
“Saying that, there’s other areas of the car that we know we need to improve as well.
“It would be very misguided to think if we go and put a different looking sidepod on it, all of that gap is going to vanish.
“The reality is that the vast majority of that gap is going to have to come from other performance areas. We’ve got a lot of projects at the moment trying to bring performance over the next five races.”