Mercedes seeks inspiration from Aston Martin
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff seeks inspiration from Aston Martin to enhance performance and explore new avenues for development.
Team principal Toto Wolff has instructed his technical team to explore new avenues for development to enhance the performance of Mercedes’ 2023 Formula 1 car. In this pursuit, he has suggested that the team will seek inspiration from Aston Martin to identify potential changes and improvements that could even lead to a shift in the car’s fundamental concept.
Toto Wolff has acknowledged that Mercedes’ current and upcoming Formula 1 car packages may not have the necessary strength to consistently compete at the top.
This admission comes after Aston Martin outperformed Mercedes in both qualifying and the race at the Bahrain Grand Prix. Notably, Aston Martin uses several Mercedes components, including the power unit, gearbox, hydraulics, and rear suspension, and also utilizes the Mercedes F1 windtunnel.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1, Wolff praised Aston Martin’s impressive performance, calling it “radical” and commending the team for their excellent work.
Wolff clarified that Mercedes does not intend to simply replicate Aston Martin’s design or share any illegal aerodynamic information. Instead, he suggests that Aston Martin’s success with the Red Bull concept, which has become a popular design under the new regulations, demonstrates its effectiveness.
Additionally, Aston Martin also faced challenges early on last year before a major sidepod update, similar to the path Mercedes is currently on. As Lewis Hamilton pointed out after the Bahrain Grand Prix, “half their car is ours, and they do their aero in our windtunnel, so we’ve got some work to do.”
Considering the desire for improved performance and long-term development potential, it makes sense for Mercedes to closely examine Aston Martin’s approach and draw any applicable insights. The team will also analyze the design and performance of the other eight cars on the grid.
Wolff has admitted that Mercedes’ deficit to Red Bull is now two or three times what it was at the end of last season, prompting the team to reassess their development direction in pursuit of greater performance potential. When asked about the next steps for Mercedes, Wolff responded, “That’s a good question, and we will address it early this week.”
According to Wolff, Mercedes’ gap to Red Bull has doubled or tripled compared to the end of last season, which is a significant concern for the team. While Mercedes considers the performance of other teams like Ferrari and Aston Martin to be a sideshow, Aston Martin’s success provides inspiration, especially since they were able to make a comeback from being two seconds off the pace to become the second-quickest team.
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Wolff added that Mercedes is struggling with downforce and tire sliding, causing them to go backwards during races, which is a major issue that needs to be addressed. While Mercedes’ single-lap pace is still good, the consequences are seen during the race.
Although Wolff mentioned that the recovery work would begin in the next few days, he also acknowledged that the team had already been considering other ideas due to concerns about the car’s relative competitiveness during the offseason.
This suggests that Mercedes has been actively working to find solutions to their performance issues for some time now.
It is standard practice for all Formula 1 teams to experiment with various design concepts and directions in their quest for improved performance.
Mercedes, for instance, has reportedly explored a more Red Bull-inspired geometry of sidepods using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and wind tunnel testing. However, the team has not yet generated the necessary performance numbers to justify a change of direction.
With the team now evaluating potential new development pathways, they may join other teams following the Red Bull concept to improve their performance. As Sergio Perez jokingly remarked following Fernando Alonso’s third-place finish, “it’s nice to see three Red Bull cars on the podium.”
When asked about the timeline for realizing the team was in trouble and whether extra resources had been allocated to exploring alternative pathways, Wolff confirmed that the team had already been exploring other ideas and had not stood still.
He did not provide specific details on the timeline or the amount of additional resources allocated, but it suggests that the team has been actively seeking solutions to its performance issues for some time.
Wolff clarified that the team has been exploring alternative concepts and ideas for some time, not just since the realization of the performance gap two weeks ago.
The team has been open-minded and exploring different possibilities while still focusing on making the current car work as effectively as possible.
It suggests that Mercedes has been proactive in seeking solutions to their performance issues and has been exploring various options in pursuit of greater performance potential.
Despite the upcoming upgrade planned for Imola, it appears that Mercedes acknowledges that it may not be enough to close the performance gap.
While the team has suggested that the upgrade will change the appearance of the car, technical director Mike Elliott has emphasized that it will still be very much in line with Mercedes’ own direction.
However, it seems that Mercedes recognizes the need for more substantial changes in order to achieve the desired performance improvements.
Mercedes’ priority is to identify a direction that can enable the team to “make the data work” and establish a solid baseline, according to Wolff.
The team recognizes the importance of finding a reliable foundation for future development and is working towards that goal.
While the team is exploring alternative concepts and ideas, the ultimate aim is to identify a direction that can deliver sustained performance improvements and establish a strong base for long-term development.
The implication is that Mercedes may have been overly focused and confident in its current car concept, to the point that it may have overlooked the potential benefits of other directions. However, if windtunnel and CFD data does not support alternative pathways, the team needs to identify the specific factors it is missing in order to make necessary improvements.
Mercedes recognizes that it needs to understand the root causes of its performance issues if it is to turn things around and achieve sustained success. This means being open-minded and exploring different possibilities while also identifying the specific factors that contribute to success.
Wolff emphasized that Mercedes sets high targets for itself and has a history of achieving them. However, the team recognizes the need to reassess their targets and perspective in order to move forward and achieve sustained success.
Wolff expressed his interest in exploring new perspectives and directions to find the most effective path to success. This suggests that Mercedes is committed to identifying the necessary changes and adjustments needed to achieve its goals and maintain its position as a top-performing team in Formula 1.
Wolff acknowledged that winning every race and championship is always the ideal scenario, but recognizes that the current challenge presents an opportunity to approach car development with a different perspective.
The phrase “change the perspective” is key, as Mercedes seeks to broaden its horizons and explore new directions in car development. This may involve subtle or significant visual changes, but the critical focus is on improving underfloor performance.
Mercedes recognizes that adopting a fresh mindset and approach could be critical to making the necessary changes and achieving the desired performance improvements.
Mercedes seeks inspiration from Aston Martin F1 2023 Mercedes seeks inspiration from Aston Martin F1 2023 Mercedes seeks inspiration from Aston Martin F1 2023 Mercedes seeks inspiration from Aston Martin F1 2023
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