Mercedes: W15 inconsistency still ‘blunting the benefit’ of upgrades

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Mercedes is on the offensive, with another batch of upgrades for its W15 car set to debut at this week’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Imola.

However, the team acknowledges a lingering key hurdle – their own inconsistency across a race weekend which is hindering the Brackley squad’s ability to fully capitalize on the performance gains its updates aim to deliver.

In Miami, Mercedes implemented the first half of their upgrade package. While Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin confirmed in a post-race debrief video that the parts functioned as expected, there's a larger problem at play.

Shovlin himself admitted that the development rate of their competitors, along with some continued issues with their own car, can make it difficult to see the W15’s progress reflected on 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,” said Shovlin.

“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.

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“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.”

While Imola is Mercedes’ immediate focus, Shovlin offered a glimpse into the future, hinting at potential tracks where the W15 might perform better.

The Briton identified one circuit in particular as favourable terrain for its car, suggesting that its characteristics could allow Mercedes to more easily unlock the car's performance potential.

“Coming up, we have Monaco, Montreal and then Barcelona,” he explained. “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 optimise 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.”

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