Formula 1
Mercedes glory days to return as team closer to finding sweet spot for W15

Mercedes glory days to return as team closer to finding sweet spot for W15

James Allison and Mike Elliott are confident that Mercedes can give a good W15 to Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.
The W13 and W14 were both faulty cars. Mercedes finally believe they know enough to make a better car for 2024.

Mercedes has endured a torrid start to the new regulations of Formula 1. They finished third last year, and are currently second in the championship. Most teams would dream of consecutive seasons like this. However, for a team who won 8 constructors championships in a row, these are 2 failures. Technical Director James Allison and Chief Technical Officer Mike Elliott have learned from their mistakes. They are now preparing a W15 which could take Lewis Hamilton and George Russell to the top.

The Problems Faced

Mercedes called the W13 a diva of a car. This is because it had a very limited optimal ride height window. Any time they tried running it close to the ground, they started porpoising. George Russell and Lewis Hamilton were the most vocal about the dangers of this issue.

Also Read: Mercedes CTO Mike Elliott reveals reason behind Porpoising return at Spa

In 2023, FIA increased the minimum ride height of the cars. This would’ve helped Mercedes on paper. They had two options: take a cautious approach and avoid porpoising, or be aggressive and tackle the bouncing restrictions. James Allison said Mercedes took the cautious approach because they thought it would be a less painful problem to fix. He said this approach has made them leave performance on the table.

James Allison and Mike Elliott are confident that Mercedes can give a good W15 to Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

Lessons Learned

Mike Elliott said Mercedes had to choose one path because of the aero-testing limitations. However, they have now run the W13 at low ride heights, and the W14 at high ride heights. He believes this has given Mercedes enough knowledge to have all their bases covered for the W15 in 2024.

Also Read: ‘Aston Martin keen to bounce back from mid-season troubles’, says boss Mike Crack

Both James Allison and Mike Elliott said that the primary development focus has now shifted to 2024. However, they haven’t stopped learning more about the W14. This is because the 2nd place in the constructors is still up for grabs.

Notably, both George Russell and Lewis Hamilton have been more at ease with the car. They feel more confident in pushing the car to its limits. Despite a return of porpoising at Spa, the team remains optimistic that they have their bases covered.

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