By : LIANNEWSKGABAR
- April 7, 2023
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Mercedes: New suspension parts to make W14 ‘more driveable’
Mercedes F1 chief technical officer James Allison has revealed that the Brackley squad’s engineers are working on new suspension elements that should improve Lewis Hamilton’s feeling and ultimately his confidence in its W14 car.
Hamilton has gone on record explaining his main grievance towards Mercedes’ design, explaining that he didn’t “feel connected” to the machine due in part to its further-forward positioned cockpit which is hindering his feel for the W14’s rear end.
Hamilton has urged Mercedes to remedy that weakness in the future, but in the interim, upcoming new suspension components should help alleviate the issue as well as help improve the W14’s overall balance.
“We are working as hard as we can in the wind tunnel to find more downforce,” said Allison in a video released on Mercedes’ YouTube channel.
“We will be working as hard as we can in the drawing office to convert the things that the wind tunnel found a few weeks ago into performance that we deliver to the track.
“We will be working in the drawing office also to bring some mechanical parts to the car, some different suspension components that we think will help the underlying balance of the car and make it a more driveable thing, making it something that the drivers have more confidence to push right to the limits.
“And we will be working on the normal sort of simulation loop and routine that allow us to prepare for the race weekends that are coming up, making sure that we land the car in the right place when we get to the race.”
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Formula 1’s next round in three weeks in Azerbaijan will feature a Sprint event on Saturday, meaning a single practice session on Friday followed by qualifying.
Allison subsequently highlighted the importance undertaking as much set-up ground work in the simulator as possible in a bid to hit the ground running in Baku.
“Sprint races really reward the teams that can land there with a starting set-up that is pretty on the money and ready to go in qualifying, because the time is really compressed in a sprint race weekend,” he said.
“Those are the things we will be working on and hopefully we work well and strong and have a good showing when we show up in Baku in just a few weeks’ time.”
Assessing Mercedes’ weekend in Melbourne, where George Russell qualified second where and Hamilton finished P2 on race day, Allison noted a “sense of quiet satisfaction” permeating through the team although Russell’s engine failure was inevitably a setback.
“Overall, a sense of quiet satisfaction that we have moved the car forward that, from a performance point of view, we probably got as much as it is able to give right now,” he said.
“That happiness of course is tempered by the disappointment that we only got one car to the flag and that George was not able to show what he was capable of in the car on race day, having performed very strongly up to that point in the weekend.
“We didn’t have huge breakthroughs, but we moved forward a little bit. We put a small amount on the leaders Red Bull, and we are starting to get on terms with, and maybe just nose a whisker in front of, the Ferraris and the Aston Martins.”
Asked if Mercedes can carry its Australian momentum into the next round in Baku, Allison underscored the contrasting characteristics of the Azerbaijan venue.
“That is a very difficult question to answer,” he admitted. “They are very different tracks.
“Where Melbourne had been front-limited, putting more strain on the front axle, probably Baku will be rear-limited. It’s a very different set of circumstances.
“I think we got some reasons to think that as we keep working on our car, we will be able to make the hop from Melbourne to the different challenge of Baku and still have a good showing, but it will be only when we get there and put the car on the road that we will know that for sure.”
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