Mercedes sees ‘sterner test’ ahead for W15 car


Mercedes emerged from last weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix with a renewed sense of optimism, but technical director James Allison sees a “sterner test” ahead for the team’s W15 silver arrows.

After a low-key entry into the 2024 F1 season marked by its struggles to master its peaky and inconsistent third generation ground-effect car, Mercedes finally delivered a weekend that showcased its design’s true potential.

Incremental aero development by the Brackley squad coupled with the introduction of a new front wing in Monaco, which was assigned to both of its drivers in Montreal, has produced a clear step forward for Mercedes W15 in terms of balance and consistency

George Russell secured a well-deserved pole position, converting it into the team's first podium finish of 2024. Lewis Hamilton, close behind in fourth, further solidified the outfit’s strong showing at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, especially in the race’s dry conditions.

However, amidst the team’s new-found strength, Mercedes remains cautious about the future.

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Allison, speaking during Mercedes’ post-race debrief video on YouTube channel, suggested that the Canadian track might have played a significant role in its car’s elevated performance. Further validation of the W15’s progress is therefore necessary.

“We expected it to perform well,” Allison explained, referring to its car’s updated front wing.

“We expected it to deliver a bit more in in Canada than it did in Monaco because the Canada circuit, although unusual, is more of a normal circuit than Monaco was.

“And it did, it delivered more performance. It made the car feel easy to drive, well balanced and made the car the drivers’ friend other than the thing they’ve been fighting, which has been what has been problematic in the opening part of the season for us.”


A frequent grievance expressed by Russell and Hamilton this season regarding their mount has been its narrow operating window. Allison believes that the implementation of the latest changes have significant reduced this W15’s ‘peaky’ trait.

“I think we have broadened it substantially,” he added. “I think there’s more we still need to do and we’ll know for sure when we go to the next track, which is Barcelona, because there, there is really very substantial range of cornering conditions. There is also a much hotter track and so that will be a quite a stern test of a vehicle.”

“The changes we’ve made are definitely making this car a better car and that will be true at every circuit we go to. The characteristics of Montreal probably make it look a little quicker than we have a natural right to command at the coming races.

“I think it’s more likely that we will be competitive but not right at the front.”

Mercedes technical director James Allison

Interestingly, Allison revealed that Mercedes will be rolling out upgrades for its car at a steady pace this summer.

“The next tracks are a little bit of a sterner test of a car: hot asphalt, wider cornering speeds and so on,” he said.

“However, that said, I also know what we’ve got coming. I also know what we’re planning to further improve the car.

“Our challenge is just to keep those upgrades arriving at a pace that the others can’t keep up with.

“And in doing that, just bullying our car to the front by virtue of the effort made by everybody here over the coming weeks and months to get the car so that it can have its Montreal weekend or better at any track that we face in the future.”

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