Mercedes confirm W15 ‘upgrade package’ with ‘no pleasure’ admission made

Henry Valantine
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton in China.

Lewis Hamilton went from leading half of the Sprint to being knocked out in Q1 in China on Saturday.

Mercedes technical director James Allison has admitted there is “no pleasure” to take from a “competently executed” race, as was the case in China, but without the underlying pace the team desire.

George Russell finished sixth in the race and Lewis Hamilton made his way back into the points after a Q1 exit, doubled up with a P2 finish in the Sprint, but the pace gap to Ferrari and Red Bull at the front of the field is still evident.

Mercedes reveal upgrade package to come with China issues explained

Allison explained that upgrades will soon be arriving on the W15 to try and bring the team closer to those at the front of the competitive order, but also to fix what he described as the “underlying balance that is causing us difficulty.”

He revealed that the W15 struggled to get to grips on a track which is particularly tough on its front tyres in the Shanghai International Circuit, which made what was a well-driven race by both drivers tougher to digest as the result did not perhaps reflect how well they had gone on Sunday.

“It’s obviously a pleasure to talk about things when you’ve had a great race and it’s lovely to the pleasure of seeing your car do well,” Allison said in Mercedes’ post-China debrief.

“It’s somewhat less pleasurable to do the same when things are not as enjoyable, when the car is not as good but I think one of the things I’m proud of this team for is that we have consistently come out and talked about how things have gone, honestly, whether good or bad, never tried to dissemble in any way and it was, you know, if you stand back at some level or another it was a competently executed race.

“Lewis started in a very lowly grid position, managed to get in the points, did a lot of good overtaking to bring that about and George drove a capable race without error, and finishing sixth was creditable with the car as it was, but the Chinese track is famous for being a front limited circuit.

“So [it’s] one where when you ask the car to go around a corner it will generally be the front tyres that go “no thank you, I don’t want to turn”, and we’ve had something of a front limited car all year, especially in the lower speed corners and that was really amped up to 11 this weekend. recommends

The winners and losers of Nico Hulkenberg’s confirmed move to Audi

F1 2025 driver line-up: Who is already confirmed for the 2025 grid?

“Once you’ve got front tyres that don’t want to go around the corner, that means the drivers have to wait an eon to get on the power on the exit of the corner, you haemorrhage lap time there.

“To actually make the car go around the corner, they have to boot it around the corner with the throttle to loosen up the rear end somewhat and that kills the rear tyres so you end up overheating on the rear as a result of being front limited.

“It’s no pleasure at all to be taken from a weekend which even though competently executed and well driven by both guys, no pleasure at all when the hardware itself is not where it needs to be or should be.

“That’s of course the challenge that we face in the coming races is to try and move both the setup of the car and also the pieces that we bring to the car so that that’s improved.

“We’ve got upgrade packages coming to the car but also components that we hope will rectify the underlying balance that is causing us difficulty.

“Much as it’s painful to talk in this way after a weekend like this, I just have to remember that there’ll be races in the future when we’ve executed those things, when we’re back more on the front foot and when we’re progressing where the pleasure of talking about it will be massive and that day can’t come soon enough.”

Read next: Nico Hulkenberg explains big Audi F1 move after Haas departure announced