Andrew Shovlin, Mercedes’ trackside engineering director, has vowed that the team’s 2024 car will be “quite considerably” different to this year’s disappointing W14.
Having been restricted to just a single win in 2022, Mercedes entered this year aiming to return to title contention but were forced into a redesign of the car after an embarrassing showing at the season opener in Bahrain.
The team introduced a heavily revised package in Monaco at the end of May, but Mercedes’ performances have remained woefully inconsistent with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell qualifying more than a second adrift of Max Verstappen’s dominant Red Bull at this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.
Mercedes tease another new-look car for F1 2024
Despite their current struggles, Mercedes remain hopeful of putting up a better fight next season and Shovlin has teased that next year’s car will look markedly different.
According to Motorsport.com, he said: “We are changing the car quite considerably for next year, but whether or not we can solve all the issues that we’ve got on the handling, that will depend on a number of projects delivering.
“Those projects are underway and they’re not complete. We’ve got some good directions to try and improve that.
“The car will be different. We’ve made a lot of changes to it, but it’s very early in the development of a new car to be able to say we’ve got it sorted.”
Shovlin explained that both drivers are playing an influential role in shaping the team’s direction for 2024, adding: “Lewis and George together are always giving us feedback on where the weakness is. And whilst they might be identifying different causes of it, we know that, fundamentally, the car doesn’t have enough stability.
“We know that they don’t have the confidence to just throw it into a high-speed corner and not have some concern that the rear is going to slide more than they want and be a bit of a challenge.
“Whilst you might see different comments in the press, the two of them are very aligned on where the weaknesses are, and where we need to improve it. We can see the GPS from other cars and that all ties in. So, you can build a picture of where you need to develop.
“And we’re certainly not clinging on to any concepts that we have had before. We’re very open-minded. We’ve had a pretty chastening couple of years, and we are a team that’s working very hard to try and get back to the front.
“When we launched our best cars in 2015 or 2019, we didn’t know that they were going to be great cars when we developed them.
“We were just working as hard as we can try to find as much performance as we can. On a lot of those cars, we missed targets by quite a chunk in terms of performance.
“But if you don’t set very ambitious targets, you’re probably not setting them high enough.”