Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin says “ideas” can be taken from the lovely views of the Mercedes and Red Bull floors in Monaco, though it is not as easy as a copy and paste.
After Lewis Hamilton crashed out of FP3, the crane lifting that stricken W14 away treated waiting photographers and rival teams to a perfect view of the underside of that challenger, the floors a key area of performance under these ground effect regulations.
The same fate later befell Red Bull though when Sergio Perez hit the wall at Sainte Devote in qualifying, their floor arguably of even greater interest considering their all-conquering start to the season, taking six wins from six.
Shovlin expects teams will have been studying the very helpful images, more likely the Red Bull ones than Mercedes’, though he did warn that it is not as simple as copying what you see and suddenly being as fast as Red Bull.
“All teams will be looking at the photos and I suspect that they’re looking a bit more at the Red Bull ones than the Mercedes or the Ferrari ones!” Shovlin told Sky F1.
“Certainly you can get ideas about what they’re trying to do with flow structures, where they might be going with the development direction. If you look at last year, you look at this year, you can understand a bit about what they’re doing there.
“But the reality is, while those pictures can give you a bit of inspiration or an idea, it’s not as simple as let’s copy that, put it on our car and we’ll be as quick as they are. It’s definitely not a case of that.
“And the reality is you’ve got to focus the vast amount of your effort on understanding your own car and developing from there. So I think a little bit of inspiration, but not much more than that.”
Mercedes are hoping to get some answers on the impact of their work as the heavily-modified W14 tackles the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with its introduction in Monaco always unlikely to bring about very meaningful data.
Shovlin then would go into further detail on the alterations and the intended results, though stressed that the team remain “open-minded” about what they will find, rather than anticipating that they have found the silver bullet to their troubles.
“We’re hoping that we’ve improved the overall performance of the car just with more downforce,” he said.
“We put a lot of focus on the sort of mid and high-speed as well, because early on that was an area we were poor. So hopefully we’ll be a bit happier in those new, fast corners there.
“And we’ve also done a bit of work on the front suspension. So we’ve changed the angle of that wishbone, the top wishbone. We’ve lifted that up, trying to change the platform control. So the way that when you hit the brakes, how does the suspension react to that, getting a bit of performance from the vehicle dynamics to make that a bit better?
“We’re open-minded about what we’re going to get, we just want to understand what are the gaps, where are we quick, where are we slow? What do we need to work on? Because we are expecting to have to do a bit more work. But really just getting that clear direction.”
Mercedes go into the Spanish GP just one point behind Aston Martin who hold P2 in the Constructors’ Championship.