Mercedes Formula 1 engineering boss James Allison says that there is “a bit of progress” coming soon and the Mercedes updates should help Lewis Hamilton in particular it is claimed.
How Mercedes plans to modify the W14 during the 2023 Formula 1 season to give Lewis Hamilton in particular a better driving experience. As a result of these efforts, “different suspension components” are to be fitted to the W14 soon.
“Those should help the basic balance of the car and make it more driveable. So that the drivers get the confidence to really go to the limit,” Allison explains.
Better the simulation, a stronger car
Mercedes also wants to revise the existing simulation processes in order to make the preparation for the race weekends even more precise.
The aim is “to have the car well set up even before we get to a Grand Prix”, says Allison.
The virtual test drives in the simulator are of decisive importance, especially for race weekends under the sprint format.
Or, as Allison puts it: “Sprint races especially reward the teams that arrive with a fairly precise set-up that you can also go into qualifying with. Because on a weekend like this, not a lot of time. Hopefully we’ll get that down well and be in good shape in Baku in a couple of weeks.”
Where Mercedes stand after 3 races of the season
But what does “in good shape” mean? Will we see Mercedes in Baku at the level of Bahrain or Saudi Arabia, or perhaps at the level of Australia, where Russell was on the front row of the grid and a candidate for victory in the race?
According to Allison, Mercedes has at least “made a bit of progress” recently. He deliberately does not want to speak of a “big breakthrough” in the Australian performance.
But: “We have put pressure on front-runner Red Bull and are now gradually moving to the level of Ferrari and Aston Martin or are even ahead by a touch.”
That’s why his team is “secretly pleased” with recent progress, “that we’ve improved the car, that we’ve probably got the maximum performance out of it that’s currently in it,” Allison says.
“But of course the joy of that is dampened because [in Australia] there was only one car at the finish.”
Mercedes performance in Baku?
And it remains to be seen on track whether the Melbourne form will become a trend or not, he adds.
“We’ll see in the coming weeks on the very different tracks that are then on the agenda,” says Allison.
He does not dare to make a concrete forecast here and now. It is “difficult to say” how Mercedes will cope on the street circuit in Baku, for example.
“The tracks are completely different,” Allison explains. “In Melbourne it’s mainly a front axle thing, in Baku it’s probably more about the rear axle.”
“So the circumstances are quite different. And whether we’ll be able to perform well in Baku, we’ll probably only know when we get there and drive.”
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) April 3, 2023