Mercedes reveal major development breakthrough as Red Bull pursuit continues

Jamie Woodhouse
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton at the Belgian Grand Prix. Spa-Francorchamps, July 2023.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton at the Belgian Grand Prix. Spa-Francorchamps, July 2023.

Mike Elliott, Mercedes chief technical officer, says the team are hopeful that they have now homed in on one development direction as they look to bounce back from a difficult period.

After clinching the 2021 Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes have not had another sniff of title glory since.

Red Bull’s 2022 triumph meant Mercedes’ run of consecutive Constructors’ crowns ended at eight, Max Verstappen making it a title double, while another is on its way for F1 2023 with Verstappen and Red Bull effectively already home and dry in their respective Championships.

Mercedes gaining confidence for the future

Red Bull have won all 12 grands prix so far in F1 2023 and are on a streak of 13 in a row overall, while Mercedes have tasted victory just once in the last year-and-a-half, courtesy of George Russell at the 2022 Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

But, having been on a learning journey through 2022 and into the current campaign, Elliott has hope that Mercedes have found a clear route to follow at last.

It was back at the 2023 Monaco GP where Mercedes made the decision to ditch their ‘zero-pod’ concept introduced for the start of the ground effect era in 2022, instead going with a sidepod design more closely resembling Red Bull’s, a package which they have continued to tweak through the following rounds. recommends

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Assessing the development journey in a piece for the Mercedes website, Elliott said: “We’re engineers and are interested in the technology.

“As Niki [Lauda, former Mercedes non-executive chairman] famously said, you learn more when you lose than when you are winning.

“I feel like it was a big learning journey through last year, and into this year. The hope is we’ve uncovered the learnings we need now, and we can keep developing in one direction.

“Sitting in my position, to look at things through a slightly wider lens, it’s nice to see the learnings. You then illuminate another bit of the path, and it gets clearer.”

Mercedes are locked in a battle with McLaren, Aston Martin and Ferrari to secure the ‘best of the rest’ P2 spot in the Constructors’ Championship, a squabble going Mercedes’ way so far.

It is the Silver Arrows currently occupying that position, 51 points ahead of Aston Martin, with 10 rounds of the season remaining as the action prepares to resume with the Dutch Grand Prix on August 27.

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