Mercedes' Andrew Shovlin: “It's our final step of aero development"
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Mercedes Formula 1 team director of trackside engineering Andrew Shovlin spoke about the next season and the W14. This season is not the best for them, so it is difficult to predict what will happen. “It's our final step of aero development and that will hopefully give us a bit more performance,” Shovlin said, as quoted by motorsport.com.
“But importantly with every step, we are learning more and more and that learning we can carry into next year. Also, we have taken some weight out of components that will hopefully get the car closer to the weight limit.
It's very difficult for us to predict where we are going to be. In Singapore Lewis was awfully close to pole position, yet in Suzuka both cars had a big gap to the front,” said Shovlin. Now, our race pace has been reasonably strong.
If we can make a step, hopefully we can get into the fight with the Ferraris and the Red Bulls, but qualifying for us is the really difficult one to predict at the moment. But as I said a lot of it is about learning and we are certainly going to give it our best shot in the final four races”.
Circuit of the Americas
Circuit of the Americas will be a tough challenge for everyone! “It's a tricky circuit and it was a tricky circuit for us last year. It was very bumpy, there was a lot of overheating as well from the tyres, and we weren’t performing as well as Red Bull were on the softer tyres.
“They have done some resurfacing so hopefully those issues with the bumps are a bit less. But what's very hard this year is to really know where you are going to be on the circuit before you've gone there. “We will not really be going to make any predictions about where we are going to perform, we just need to go there on Friday, see what kind of issues we have, and then see whether we can solve those with set-up”.
The highest downforce level was a big dilemma, but Shovlin revealed some details; “We decided to stay at our highest downforce level. Part of that decision was that it was actually giving us the best lap times in the race condition where we were going to get high degradation in the dry, but we had also seen this rain that was coming in on Sunday, and we felt that in a wet race that might be a benefit.
“As it happens, the DRS was never enabled, and that meant that overtaking was very, very hard and perhaps the right decision would have been a lower downforce setting. “Fundamentally, one of the things that we need to improve on the car for next year is to get the car to have more downforce at the lower drag levels, and then we can race those lighter wings and still be competitive in the corners”.