How the Mercedes W15 compares against Ferrari, McLaren with key flaw addressed

Oliver Harden
James Allison smiles in the F1 paddock with a prominent Mercedes badge alongside him

James Allison returned as Mercedes technical director last year to lead the development of the W15 car

James Allison is confident the new Mercedes W15 car has solved the team’s driveability issues ahead of Saturday’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

And he believes that car is looking relatively competitive against Ferrari and McLaren in the fight behind World Champions Red Bull.

Having won a record eight consecutive Constructors’ Championships from the beginning of F1’s hybrid era in 2014, Mercedes have been restricted to just a single race victory since the ground effect rules were introduced in 2022.

Mercedes W15 looking ‘alright’ compared to Ferrari, McLaren

The team suffered their first winless season since 2011 last season, but are hopeful of a much-improved campaign in 2023 with Allison revealing over the winter that Mercedes had established a “pretty ambitious program” with the W15.

At the launch of the team’s 2024 car earlier this month, Allison outlined his hope that Mercedes have found a solution to the “spiteful” rear end with which Lewis Hamilton and George Russell struggled last year.

And speaking to Sky F1 on the final day of pre-season testing last week, the Mercedes technical director claimed the W15 is in the same ballpark as Ferrari and McLaren. recommends

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He said: “I think we’ve had a better day today. We definitely found a better way forward with it today and we’re reasonably pleased with the pace that we’re showing at the end of today.

“When we’re all running together – there was a McLaren and Ferrari going around the track at the same time on the same tyres – we look alright.”

Asked if Mercedes have managed to make the W15 more driveable than its predecessors, he replied: “I think we largely have.

“I think bouncing is still a thing that’s going to be a threshold that all the cars in the pit lane will work up against until this generation of car moves on to something different.

“So there’s still still some bouncing that we can bury ourselves in or will come out of just in pursuit of what the right sort of performance compromises.

“But the horrid, snappy rear end, that is hopefully not troubling us in the way that it did in the past.”

Pressed on how he and his team made it possible, he said: “It’s mostly mechanical changes in the car, but it’s always a marriage between the aerodynamic behaviour through the corner and the suspension.”

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