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In Circles Mercedes F1's Quest for Elusive Speed

In Circles: Mercedes F1’s Quest for Elusive Speed

08/04/2024

Amid a perplexing season, Toto Wolff humorously highlights the W15’s complexity, as Mercedes F1 tirelessly seeks a breakthrough.

Mercedes F1 continues to navigate blindly with its 2024 car. Toto Wolff, the team principal, confirms that his crew can’t decipher the W15. When asked about plans to improve performance, Wolff jests, while detailing the currently unattainable potential.

“Put the rear tires at the back and the front tires at the front!” joked the Austrian. “I believe the car is exceedingly complex for us, in where we position it, in terms of the balance of errors and mechanical balance. Both elements must correlate.”

“We’ve been on a certain trajectory over the past years and we’ve just been going in circles. We reached a point where we said: ‘Ok, we need to do something different.’ Because we measure the aerodynamic downforce with our sensors and gauges.”

“And we have 70 more downforce points in a specific Melbourne corner compared to last year. But on lap time, it’s not 1 km/h faster. So, it makes no sense. Where is the limit then? I think we wanted to tick some boxes. Are there limits we’ve identified? And I think yes.”

“We’ve just been going in circles”

The lack of correlation poses a major problem for Mercedes, as the team doesn’t find the levels of downforce shown at certain points on the car in the data, or in the simulations: “Everything we’ve seen over these two years suggests there should be more aerodynamic downforce than we think.”

“And now, we’ve measured the downforce and it’s there. It’s just that we’re not able to extract the lap time that we should, and that the simulations show us. And that’s significant.”

However, Wolff praises his team’s change of approach, after two years wandering around the ‘zero sidepod’ concept: “I think the car is exceedingly complex for us, to know where we place it in terms of aerodynamic balance and mechanical balance.”

“Both elements must correlate, and we’ve been on a certain trajectory over the past years. We’ve just been going in circles, and we reached a point where we said ‘okay, we need to do something different’.”

In Circles Mercedes F1's Quest for Elusive Speed

In Circles: Mercedes F1’s Quest for Elusive Speed. In Circles: Mercedes F1’s Quest for Elusive Speed

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