Mercedes’ Andrew Shovlin believes Red Bull will be more annoyed by their car floor being exposed to the world than his team are.
Both Red Bull and Mercedes have had the floor designs of their cars revealed during the course of the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, after mistakes from their drivers meant the cars had to be craned away.
On Saturday morning, Lewis Hamilton crashed his W14 at Mirabeau and, during the recovery of his car, the crane operator lifted the car several storeys high to clear it out of the way. This allowed photographers a great opportunity to snap plenty of pictures of the design that contributes over 50% of the downforce generated by a car since the introduction of the ground-effect regulations at the start of last season.
Hours later, Sergio Perez binned his RB19 at Ste. Devote. Like Hamilton’s car, a crane was needed to remove it, allowing plenty of opportunity for pictures to be taken of the floor design that is the envy of the F1 field as they attempt to keep pace with the World Champion team.
Andrew Shovlin: Red Bull ‘probably more annoyed than Mercedes’
While both teams would ideally like to have kept their designs hidden away from the world, Mercedes’ head of trackside engineering Andrew Shovlin believes Red Bull will be far more annoyed than his team are.
“I suspect they’re probably more annoyed at their car being left in the sky than we would be about ours,” Shovlin told Autosport, when asked if Mercedes had pored over pictures of the Red Bull’s floor.
With the cars were hoisted up, it was clear that the Mercedes tipped backwards to a far greater extent than the Red Bull – seemingly indicating how their weight is distributed.
“Years ago, when your weight distribution could be anywhere between 48% and 43%, you paid a bit more attention… you could try and work out where the centre of gravity was,” Shovlin said.
“These days, you’ve got a pretty narrow window to work in by the regulations anyway. To be honest, with these regulations, the most important bit is the bit you don’t normally get to see.
“So, the teams will be all over those kinds of photographs. Monaco is a good opportunity to get that kind of shot.”
“A lot of excited aerodynamicists will be looking at that”
Tom McCullough, Aston Martin’s performance director, said the exposing of Red Bull’s plank on the floor would reveal how the car was interacting with the track surface.
“Obviously, there are some great photos! A lot of people were there so I’m sure the aerodynamicists will be having a good look at all the cars that were lifted up,” he said.
“Thankfully, ours hasn’t been lifted up yet. Let’s try and keep it that way! The aerodynamicists never want you to show that. You learn a lot from just even how the plank is wearing. You learn from what’s touching.
“There’s a lot of very excited aerodynamicists up and down the pit lane looking at all of that.”