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Mercedes W15 Winter Testing

Mercedes W15: Tests Show Ideal Responsiveness

25/02/2024

Mercedes F1’s new W15 delivers promising results in winter testing, as James Allison reveals radical setting changes and improved performance.

Mercedes F1 experienced satisfying winter testing with its new W15. James Allison, the team’s technical director, explains that these three days of testing allowed for exploring more radical directions in settings.

“Very productive. We had a very comprehensive test program. We wanted to work on a number of setting changes that aren’t really possible once the season has started,” Allison stated.

“We’ve done those things now, to give us a direction for the equipment we’re taking into the first series of races. From that perspective, it was a good test.”

The engineer admits that Mercedes still has work to do but wants to highlight the progress made in 12 months, especially since the 2023 winter testing directly indicated the major difficulties to come for the team.

“Last year at this time, we were in a world of pain, and although we’re certainly not the lead car right now, we at least have an honest and well-behaved car that can provide a decent pace over the long term.”

“Much confidence” thanks to correlation

Unlike the W14, the W15 shows very good correlation when put on the track and changes are made. Allison explains this will greatly help the work in the simulator.

“One of the nicest things about the car, and a strong contrast to last year, is that we can change one thing and the car reacts, and it reacts pretty much as the simulations say it should.”

“This gives us a lot of confidence that you can make changes in the factory, in the virtual world, bring them here and expect them to work. So yes, it’s an encouraging thing for us.”

Riskier tests than on race weekends

He gives examples of things that were changed on the car during these tests, which are too complex to test during Grand Prix weekends: “I think you will have seen that we’ve modified the anti-dive level of the front suspension.”

“And that’s exactly the kind of change that you can’t make between runs during free practice sessions. So, yes, it’s useful to do that and to make a number of runs and make our decisions.”

Allison makes his predictions for the upcoming season, not betting on McLaren F1: “I think it’s quite tough… Red Bull is ahead. But there are a few teams in the chasing pack that are reasonably strong. Ferrari looks good, I think we look good. Fernando [Alonso] did some decent stints.”

“So, I would say that’s what I think are the three chasers, but in what exact order, I’m not sure. I think we might be a bit better over the long run, but a bit behind Ferrari on a lap-by-lap basis, so I think a lot will depend on who has a good week from here on.”

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