The German producer has had a troublesome begin to the brand new season, with its 2023 F1 challenger proving to be no match for the dominant Purple Bull crew.
Straight after qualifying for the season-opener in Bahrain, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff stated that the squad had already thrown the towel in on its design idea and would start work on a completely new direction.
Whereas his feedback after only a single aggressive session prompted some to counsel the crew was performing in haste, it has since emerged that Mercedes knew many weeks earlier than that it wanted to do one thing completely different.
Trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin has revealed that Mercedes had reached a conclusion concerning the limits of the W14 within the wind tunnel when it realised enhancements weren’t coming as simply because it hoped.
“You may have a look at your growth charges within the wind tunnel, and earlier than we even obtained to Bahrain, there have been conversations about taking a look at larger [concept] departures,” defined Shovlin.
“That is not taking a look at it in isolation for this yr’s automobile growth, it’s one thing we have finished over the course of the final 10 years.
“When you’re not discovering the good points you want, you make a much bigger change. You discover one other space and sometimes you wish to unlock that.
“That had already occurred earlier than Bahrain. However maybe the urgency to attempt to carry these bits to the observe has gone up following the early races.”
George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14
Photograph by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images
One of many largest modifications that Mercedes plans to unlock within the early part of this season is a revision to its zeropod idea.
Nevertheless, Shovlin stated the crew must overhaul different areas of the automobile as nicely if it desires to seek out the efficiency wanted to beat Purple Bull.
Requested to make clear what Wolff had meant by a change of idea, Shovlin stated: “Maybe we have adopted the phrase idea to imply sidepod.
“This automobile is an evolution of the automobile that we had final yr, and lots of that’s tied round the place we have got the facet influence construction. So now we’re taking a look at larger departures as a result of it is evident that this hasn’t given us the efficiency that we would like.
“Saying that, there’s different areas of the automobile that we all know we have to enhance as nicely.
“It might be very misguided to suppose if we go and put a special wanting sidepod on it, all of that hole goes to fade.
“The truth is that the overwhelming majority of that hole goes to have to return from different efficiency areas. We have got lots of initiatives for the time being attempting to carry efficiency over the following 5 races.”
In addition to the work on the general idea, Mercedes faces a problem in attempting to get Lewis Hamilton extra snug with the automobile as he’s scuffling with the shortage of rear finish stability.
Shovlin stated that have been many elements of the W14 that wanted to be made higher for each Hamilton and George Russell.
“There’s issues the place the automobile hasn’t gotten entry stability, and meaning they have not actually obtained the boldness with it,” he stated. “It may be a bit tough to carry the tyres in, and we’re sliding round an excessive amount of within the excessive velocity.
“We’re taking suggestions from each drivers all through each session, and that is getting fed into the event course of. And, finally, I believe if we enhance the automobile for Lewis, we are going to enhance it for George as nicely.”