Mercedes leaving no stone unturned in changing F1 car's concept


Mercedes technical director Mike Elliott says the German outfit will approach its massive task of changing the concept of its 2023 design by analysing every single area of its car and by relying on all the tools at its disposal.

After F1's opening race in Bahrain, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff threw in the towel, and recognized that its new-spec W14 was fundamentally flawed and would not allow the former championship winning outfit to fight for the title this season.

A subsequent crisis meeting back at Mercedes' headquarters in Brackley led to the elaboration of a comprehensive plan of attack to right the ship in the coming months through a change of course and development.

But Elliott explained that ditching the concept of its 2023 black arrow implied much more than revamping its aerodynamics or the profile of its zero sidepod W14, the singular design feature carried over from last year's challenger.

"The simple answer is it means different things to different people," Elliott said, explaining what a change of concept entailed in Mercedes' post-race video on its YouTube channel.

"I think after Bahrain we had to accept we weren’t where we wanted to be, that we had to look at all the things that make up our car and work out what could we be doing differently, how could we get more performance, because there is a significant gap for us to catch up to the front.

"So the engineers are busy looking at aerodynamics, they are looking at the shape of the car, things like the sidepod geometry, the floor geometry, have we missed a trick?

"But we are also looking in the simulation world of are we targeting the right things, are we pushing the aerodynamics in the right direction?

"We’re looking at the mechanical set-up of the car, are there things there that we are missing? What else can we bring to the car that is going to add performance? And we’re trying to do that as fast as we possibly can, because we want to get back to the front.

"We want to be competing at the front, and the only way we are going to do that is by accepting we are not in the position we want to be, and fighting and working really hard to get back there."


Mercedes' predicament engendered massive disappointment among the team's crews and everyone working on the factory floor in Brackley.

But the setback was short lived according to Elliott, with everyone now spurred on by a solid dose of energy and determined to turn Mercedes' fortunes around.

"Obviously, Bahrain was a real reality check and to find ourselves in the position we find ourselves in, not being competitive, was a real disappointment," he said. "A disappointment for the whole team.

"But you have to get yourself through that, and you have to turn that into what we are going to do about it? How are we going to bring the sort of the energy and what we are capable of doing?

"How are we going to move ourselves forward? How are we going to get ourselves back in the fight?

"And actually, walking around the factory there is huge amount of energy, there is a huge amount of work going on, we are starting to see some of the development come through already that is going to get us back into this championship fight.

"All we can do is just keep pushing. I've been really pleased to see the attitude in the team."

Looking ahead to the next job at hand, the Australian Grand Prix next week in Melbourne, Elliott hopes Mercedes can achieve another small step forward at Albert Park.

"Firstly, our main aim at the moment is to continue learning," he commented. "We've only had two races so far. It's really difficult to build trends from that.

"In terms of the actual characteristics of the circuit, Australia is probably front-limited and probably more like Jeddah than like Bahrain.

"So, let's hope that we can find another small step forward, get a bit more competitive, find the learning that is going to help us move forward in the long term."

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