Mercedes reveal their ‘prime focus’ over F1 season second half

Thomas Maher
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton flashes past in final practice at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Budapest, July 2023.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton flashes past in final practice at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Budapest, July 2023.

Mercedes’ chief technical officer Mike Elliott has detailed what his team are trying to achieve with the W14 over the remainder of the season.

Having gone through a hefty upgrade process through the middle part of the 2023 season, a major concept change as Mercedes changed direction with their W14, Elliott outlined more of what the Brackley-based team aim to achieve over the remainder of the season.

The British engineer took over from James Allison as Mercedes’ chief technical officer earlier this year, with the pair swapping roles as Allison reverted to the technical director role he had held until 2021.

Mike Elliott: Easier to make big changes over winter

With the concept change not shooting Mercedes back to the front of the field with immediate effect, Elliott was pressed on whether fundamental architecture changes are needed on the car philosophy in order to make further progress.

He explained that, while bigger changes are likely during the winter, there’s still plenty of lessons to be learned from the remaining 10 races with the W14 that can be applied to the next car.

“Well, I think it’s always hard to make big changes to things like chassis and gearboxes, the big structural parts of the car,” he told media, including

“That’s far easier to do over the winter. But, in terms of what we’re trying to learn, what we’re trying to achieve, I think we can get that learning on this year’s car.

“We said before, if you look at where we are in the season, and you look at where particularly Max is in the Red Bull at the moment, we’ve got to put our focus into the winter development, making sure we’ve understood all the lessons we can from this year’s car and take that into next year.” recommends

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With Mercedes locked in battle with Ferrari, Aston Martin, and now McLaren, over the position of second-quickest team, Elliott said the process of recovery involves dissecting every single area of performance.

“You question everything, you question whether you have got the right fundamental philosophies, you question whether you’ve got the right processes in the way you’re looking at the data,” he said.

“You’d like to think there’s some silver bullet, you can find something that’s wrong that you can fix. But I think, generally speaking, it is all about hard work.

“If you look at where we were last year with the car with the issues that we faced, we took quite a few big steps backward to get ourselves out of some of the positions we were in.

“Once you’re there, it is just catch up. When you ou look at where we are, performance-wise, I think Aston Martin made a good step over the winter. But we’ve got ourselves into a decent position, and now we’re seeing McLaren also make a big step. You have to look at that and say, on the one hand, it’s disappointing for us, on the other hand, it shows there are opportunities to make good steps.”

With the rules remaining stable for 2024, Elliott said there’s no need for a major change in direction or slowdown in development for this year – the W14 will continue to be developed as the lessons learned will apply to next season.

“I think there’s still learning we can do and there’s still P2 to fight for in the championship. So we’ll keep developing,” he confirmed.

“But obviously, our prime focus now is next year’s car.

“Fundamentally, we want to be winning World Championships. That’s our prime focus. And we’ll put our efforts into doing that. I think, when you look at trying to develop a brand new car, when you’re making architectural changes, it’s hard to keep that pace in the tunnel.

“So, in actual fact, some of the running we’re doing for this year’s car is just helpful learning and helpful learning on the track without really hindering next year’s car.”

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