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Mercedes W15 Stability in Corners Significant Progress

Mercedes W15: Stability in Corners, Significant Progress

22/02/2024

For 2024, Mercedes F1 shifts focus to enhancing downforce with the W15, overcoming past challenges. This strategic pivot aims to narrow the gap with Red Bull, promising a competitive edge.

Mercedes F1 can focus on downforce rather than addressing issues with its W15, its Formula 1 car for 2024, as it is “not the diva it has been over the past two years,” according to George Russell.

Mercedes has adopted a simpler concept with the W15 aiming to close the gap to Red Bull, following a first winless F1 season since 2011 last year.

Mercedes Technical Director James Allison stated the team aimed to correct the “malicious instability at the rear” that troubled both drivers with the W13 and W14.

Russell Positive, Mercedes Faces Red Bull Challenge

Russell provided an initial positive assessment of his F1. Despite this optimism, Russell is aware that Mercedes faces a steep climb to catch up with Red Bull.

“You can definitely tell from the start if the car is an improvement and if it’s enjoyable to drive. And it’s definitely an improvement. There’s no doubt about it. But you could have the worst car to drive, but if it’s faster than everyone else, you’ll be happy with it.”

“So it was really nice to drive yesterday. I had good feelings in the car, but we know all the other teams have made a good step forward.”

“And at this point, it’s definitely way too early to say where we stand, and we have a huge, huge mountain to climb to catch up to what Red Bull was doing last year and how far ahead they were of everyone else.”

“We need to see our performance relative to the others when the time comes, but we definitely have a much better platform to build on and it’s not the diva it has been over the past two years.”

The root cause of Mercedes’ struggles last season came from maintaining the zero sidepod solution it had designed at the start of this regulatory cycle and then chose to abandon.

Mercedes W15: Overcoming Limits, Unlocking Performance

Though it has moved closer to the philosophy initiated by Red Bull, Mercedes was still hampered by the W14 chassis due to budget cap constraints.

Russell believes Mercedes has overcome these issues with its revised car, allowing engineers to focus their time on finding new performance gains.

“Last year, the car was really difficult to drive. Lewis [Hamilton] and I had no confidence in it. It felt like it was going to bite us at every turn.”

“We can now attack medium and high-speed corners without the rear suddenly losing grip. And we feel we’ve made a very good step in terms of the car’s consistency. We can really rely on our rear end more than before, and that has been a major priority in terms of development throughout last year.”

“We saw many flaws with the W14, and the team did a very good job of correcting them. We now have a car, mechanically speaking, that the aerodynamics guys can go wild on to unleash downforce. Whereas in the past, whatever we did aerodynamically, there were underlying issues with the car that prevented it. It took a while to understand and solve them.”

Mercedes W15: Stability in Corners, Significant Progress. Mercedes W15: Stability in Corners, Significant Progress

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