Mercedes confirm Miami GP upgrade findings as familiar W15 weakness remains

Oliver Harden
Lewis Hamilton behind the wheel of the Mercedes W15 at the 2024 Miami Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton behind the wheel of the Mercedes W15 at the 2024 Miami Grand Prix

Andrew Shovlin has confirmed that Mercedes’ floor upgrade worked as expected at the Miami Grand Prix, but conceded that the W15 car continues to “behave quite differently from session to session.”

Having been restricted to just a single race win since F1’s ground effect rules were introduced in 2022, Mercedes had aimed to return to regular victory contention with the new-look W15 in F1 2024.

Mercedes W15 flaw remains despite Miami GP upgrade

However, the eight-time Constructors’ Champions are still awaiting their first podium finish of the new season and currently sit a distant fourth in the standings – 60 points adrift of Miami GP winners McLaren.

Mercedes introduced their first major upgrade package of F1 2024 in Miami, arriving in Florida armed with a significantly altered floor.

Despite having the new parts, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell struggled to make much of an impression on race day, coming home sixth and eighth respectively.

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Appearing on Mercedes’ post-race debrief show, Shovlin has claimed that the team now have a “very clear idea” about the required development direction for the W15.

Yet he admitted that the impact of Mercedes’ upgrades is likely to be limited for as long as the car’s performance continues to fluctuate across a grand prix weekend.

He said: “We managed to pull forward about half of our update kit to Miami and the other half is going to arrive in Imola.

“We’re working very hard on the future races to try and bring developments to them as well.

“Did it work as expected? Yes, it all looks like it’s delivering the performance that we were hoping for from the floor.

“The issue at the moment is everyone else is developing their cars.

“You saw McLaren with a big package and they look to have moved forward.

“And also, the handling issues that the drivers are having to battle with are making it hard to really see all that performance as a straight step forward.

“What we tend to find is that the car can behave quite differently from session to session and, until we get on top of that, we’re always going to blunt the benefit that we can get on top of that we’re always going to blunt the benefit that we can get from these type of updates.

“But after the last few races, we’ve now got a very clear idea of what we need to do to the car to get it handling a bit more easily for the drivers, making sure it goes where they want it to go when they’re on those important qualifying laps.

“And we’ve also got a good thread of updates that’ll be coming over the next three or four races.

“A lot of hard work going on but hopefully we will start to see the fruits of that soon.”

Shovlin’s comments come after Russell hinted in Miami that Mercedes have “overcompensated” with the W15 by straying too far away from their F1 2023 car concept.

He explained: “The fact is that the stopwatch doesn’t lie and we know that probably some of the changes we’ve made since the end of last year perhaps overcompensated with some of the development items we did.

“We have limitations with the car now which is a totally different limitation to what we had this time 12 months ago.

“We did so much work to solve the problems, we’ve kind of gone too far in that direction.

“We know we need to improve and we need to improve quickly.”

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