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Mercedes F1 Ramps Up W15 Development

Mercedes F1 Ramps Up W15 Development, Sees Hope

09/05/2024

Toto Wolff heralds a promising phase for Mercedes F1 as development on the W15 intensifies, aiming for competitive gains.

The strong performances by the McLaren F1 team, thanks to its updates, have once again sparked new hope for Mercedes F1.

McLaren, racing with a Mercedes engine, managed to secure a Grand Prix victory in this ground-effect era, excluding Oscar Piastri’s Sprint win in Qatar last year.

The big question remains: when will Mercedes F1 finally roll out updates capable of turning the tide?

As time goes on, Toto Wolff and his team are increasingly under pressure, especially as the Austrian is keen to attract Max Verstappen for the 2026 regulations.

Mercedes F1 Ramps Up W15 Development, Sees Hope

“McLaren has made significant strides since last summer, and they have won on merit, with a Mercedes engine. And it’s crucial for all of us to see that you can make these steps if you design the right developments and do the right work.”

“So far, this has not been the case with us, but we remain convinced that the W15 is a better base than our previous two F1 cars.”

“I think we understand much better what is needed to move the car into a better space because what it does is now very clear to our engineers. And we know why we are struggling in these areas.”

“In Formula 1 now, with the budget cap and restrictions in CFD and wind tunnel usage, you can accelerate development and only produce parts when you are confident. And I can tell you, we are going full throttle now.”

“The design office is at full throttle. Production operations are at full throttle. The race team has done a good job, so all the factories have really shifted into sixth gear to bring to the car what we believe can be very useful.”

However, Wolff is realistic and indicates that major Mercedes developments might still take some time to arrive.

“I think we know what we’re doing, and as for what we’re bringing to the car, you really can’t rush it, because you have to be at a point where you say: ‘Now, it’s ready to be released for production.'”

“And once those parts arrive, they have to prove themselves to be robust and reliable, so it’s still a matter of several weeks.”

Russell believes that Mercedes F1 had “overcompensated” for the flaws of the 2023 W14 and had gone too far in the other direction with its latest concept. Wolff seems to agree with this view, believing that Mercedes has eradicated the high-speed deficit it had last season at the expense of low-speed performance.

“The car doesn’t bounce anymore, which is good. It was really bad in recent years.”

“The car is very solid at high speeds. The handling is better, but the car simply doesn’t perform as well at low speeds anymore.”

“And you don’t want a car that does either one or the other.”

“And that’s why it points us in some good directions. It has been a painful learning process and it’s still not satisfying, but the situation is more encouraging now.”

Mercedes F1 Ramps Up W15 Development, Sees Hope

Mercedes F1 Ramps Up W15 Development, Sees Hope. Mercedes F1 Ramps Up W15 Development, Sees Hope

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