Mercedes Devotes April Break to Boosting Car Performance
by | VIEW 1022
Mercedes' Formula One team is working tirelessly during the April hiatus to provide Lewis Hamilton and George Russell with a more harmonious car, complete with upgraded suspension, as stated by the team's Chief Technical Officer, James Allison.
The pause in racing is a result of the Chinese Grand Prix's cancellation, with competitions set to resume on April 30 in Azerbaijan.
Pursuing Enhanced Suspension and Downforce
In an interview, Allison disclosed, "We are working as hard as we can in the wind tunnel to find more downforce, 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." He also mentioned developing new mechanical parts, including "different suspension components that we think will help the underlying balance of the car and make it a more driveable thing." Hamilton, a seven-time world champion, recently achieved the team's first podium of the season by securing second place in Australia.
However, he has expressed dissatisfaction with the car, saying he does not "feel connected" to it. Similarly, Russell has referred to the vehicle as a "lame horse."
Adapting to Sprint Race Weekends
The fourth race of the season in Baku marks the beginning of six sprint weekends this year.
Discussions are underway to limit practice to a single Friday session. Allison emphasized the importance of being prepared, stating, "Sprint races really reward the teams that can land there with a starting setup that is pretty on the money and ready to go in qualifying because the time is really compressed in a sprint race weekend." The Australian Grand Prix brought mixed results for Mercedes: Hamilton secured a podium finish, but Russell experienced a mechanical failure after an initially promising start from the front row.
Hamilton also briefly led the race before Red Bull's Max Verstappen surpassed him using the drag reduction system (DRS) and ultimately triumphed. Nonetheless, the British driver managed to outperform Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso.
Allison believes that Mercedes has slightly narrowed the gap with Red Bull and may now surpass Ferrari and Aston Martin in performance. However, he acknowledged the difficulty in determining whether this improvement is genuine.
"We'll go to some more very different tracks in the next few weeks and we'll see whether this was the sort of initial bellwether of general uptick in our performance which we hope for, or whether it was related to the quite unusual track conditions," he concluded.