Why Mercedes had ‘no choice’ but to bring W14 upgrades to Monaco
Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin believes the team had “no choice” but to bring their updates to the W14 to Monaco, while acknowledging how tough a track it is at which to introduce new parts.
The streets of Monte Carlo are famously tough for the drivers to navigate at the best of times, but also owing to its unique characteristics, gathering data on new parts will not be the easiest job for Mercedes team members over the course of the weekend.
But given the potential gains Mercedes could make with the significant changes they have been working on for their car, the team chose to introduce them in Monaco after the cancellation of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix last time out.
“You wouldn’t normally come to Monaco with a with a significant update package, but we’ve had no choice,” Shovlin explained in a reel posted on Mercedes’ Instagram account.
“We’ve been working on this for a long time, it was all destined for the Imola race. That got cancelled, and that’s why we’re here in Monaco with a lot of new parts on the car.
“And the reason you wouldn’t choose to do that is it’s a notoriously difficult circuit to learn, to set the car up, to understand where you are on pace.
“But we’ve developed a programme now to try and get those parts introduced as soon as possible, and we’ll see what they can do on track.”
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In terms of what has been brought, the changes appear to be wholesale on the W14, not least the abandoning of the ‘zeropod’ sidepod philosophy which made their car unique to look at, but ultimately proved not to be the quickest way around the current regulations, based on Mercedes’ calculations.
Beyond that, the team have also brought changes to several other parts of the car, which Shovlin elaborated further upon – though he added that next weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona will provide a better base from which to gather data on how the parts perform in the real world.
“So what have we got here? Well, we’ve got a new front suspension, that’s a slight improvement aerodynamically. It also gives us a bit of flexibility in terms of how we set the car up,” Shovlin said.
“New floors, some new parts on cake tins and, importantly, those new sidepods – which has changed quite a lot of the cooling system underneath.
“Now, what do we expect from it? Well, we hope it’ll move us a small step in the right direction, but the difficulty with Monaco is you come here and you never know where your car really should be in terms of performance.
“So we’re certainly going to save our assessment of where we are until after Barcelona, a much better track for testing.
“But the real reason behind what we’ve done is about that change of development direction. So we’ve been working on a particular concept for a year and a half now, we were quite keen to get onto a different concept to see if it ultimately offered more performance, a faster rate of development direction, and that’s the big thing that we’ve done here.”