Mercedes reveal ‘unusual’ inspiration with ‘before and after’ shots of massive upgrade

Henry Valantine
Lando Norris, McLaren, battles Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes. Silverstone July 2023.

Lando Norris holds off Lewis Hamilton around the outside of Luffield as they fight over second place. Silverstone July 2023.

Mercedes technical director James Allison has said the team are taking inspiration from McLaren following their massive step forward at recent races.

A huge upgrade package was placed on Lando Norris’ car and further updates were given to him at Silverstone, with McLaren moving from the midfield to the podium in effectively one fell swoop as the Briton took second place at his home race on Sunday, holding off the charging Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton behind.

Allison admitted it was “unusual” for a team to make such a massive gain in performance in the middle of the season, so Mercedes are peeling through the photography they have of the MCL60 to see what they can learn.

Mercedes say ‘chapeau’ to McLaren, and are ‘paying more attention’ to them as a result

After a slow start to the season, McLaren ordered wholesale changes to their car only a couple of rounds into the year, so much so that team principal Andrea Stella admitted that the upgrades will effectively amount to it being a B-spec car for the remainder of ther season.

A 30-point haul for McLaren and Oscar Piastri saw them leap up to fifth in the Constructors’ standings and double their points tally for the year in one race at Silverstone, and the pace on show saw them faster than even the likes of Mercedes, Ferrari and Aston Martin on merit.

This change in competitiveness has not gone unnoticed by the rest of the grid, but the Mercedes technical director revealed they have a big bank of photos of the MCL60 to look back upon and assess what has changed on the car between Canada and Britain, and they will see what can be taken to potentially include on their own car moving forward.

“All of the teams, as they upgrade, we keep an eye on them,” Allison explained in Mercedes’ post-race debrief.

“We take loads and loads of photos and we try and figure out what changes from race to race, and we note when something new or unusual comes along.

“The interesting thing and unusual thing about the McLaren upgrade is its lap time effect is really quite strong.

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“It’s pretty unusual to have a step of that size, of relative competitiveness in the middle of the season.

“Chapeau to them, they’ve done a really good piece of work there, but that also makes it interesting for us because we have the before and after shots and we know the lap time effect was big.

“So, well worth us paying more attention than we normally might to a team or another competitor team’s upgrades because in this case, we know that whatever changed has made a really meaningful difference in their lap time.

“So, quite useful for us to know what that was and see whether it can play into our own thoughts about developing our own car.”

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