Mercedes is back from a double podium obtained at the Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix which relaunched it in spirit and ambitions. The introduction of the new package of novelties, which has revolutionized the W14 entrusted again this year to Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, has changed the perspectives of the Brackley team.
The adoption of the new bellies, but above all of the new bottom and the revised front suspension seems to have made the Frecce Nere take more than a step forward, which proved to be the second force on the track at Montmelo especially on Sunday, thanks to an excellent race pace .
Despite the news, not everything is resolved. The rear of the single-seater still gives engineers and drivers a lot of headaches, also due to a passenger compartment positioned too far forward because it was designed with a very different car concept from the current one. But to solve this problem we will have to wait for next season, with the redesign of the frame.
The situation, especially at the front, has improved thanks to the new rear suspension, designed to improve vehicle dynamics, but also the air flow dedicated to the single-seater bellies for cooling the power unit.
Andrew Shovlin, director of engineering at Mercedes, explained why the new geometries were adopted and what the team expects from their introduction.
“It’s about trying to play with these geometries to influence the aero platform and try to get a little more stability in the car. Probably the new geometry has given us more freedom, because the problem we always had before the last end race week was to get a good front end when cornering was needed and good stability on entry when braking hard and cornering.”
George Russell, Mercedes
Photo by: Pirelli
“This compromise was always something we couldn’t fix. You always end up with a weak rear when entering or a poor front when exiting corners. So let’s hope that these new suspensions take us in the right direction.”
The changes to the suspension were introduced after 8 rounds (of which 7 held considering the cancellation of Imola), therefore after more than a third of the World Championship. Furthermore, with the Budget Cap in place, developments for the W14 will be limited.
For this reason Shovlin expects the single-seater’s rear suspension to be one of the key points to change for 2024, when the spending ceiling will restart with its maximum capacity and not with part of the resources already spent as Mercedes is having to cope right now.
“Basically this year we made a new suspension and suspension is expensive to make and to fit on the car. So the reality is that with the budget cap we are always looking at our situation in this World Championship.”
“We don’t know how many things we’re going to do. I don’t expect to make any leaps and bounds. What we understand is that there is quite a rich development strand that we can start looking at. So our programs are working.”
“The challenge is always to get aerodynamics and vehicle dynamics to work together and optimize and every team goes through that kind of process. But it’s about seeing where the opportunities are and how you can bring the two together so that they succeed to function as a single package”.