Toto Wolff has said Mercedes expect to have a “more stable platform” underneath them in Barcelona this weekend, where the full effect of their upgrades should be seen.
Mercedes introduced a raft of improvements to the W14 around Monte Carlo, delayed from the cancelled Emilia Romagna Grand Prix a week beforehand, with the aim of improving the car however they could – despite Monaco being a notoriously difficult place in which to gather data, given how unique a challenge it presents for the cars.
But with the Formula 1 circus heading to Barcelona this weekend, a long-established testing track for the teams, historical data is plentiful for the teams at that circuit and the Mercedes team boss already plans on using the weekend as a data-gathering exercise, as well as a race weekend.
“Everything is new, so it really is a lot of learning at the moment,” he said. “The next race in Barcelona will be an important opportunity to collect lots of data from this new baseline and extract as much understanding as we can about what the car does.”
Alongside that, however, there will be an old challenge returning to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this weekend, with the removal of the final chicane in favour of two sweeping final right-handers not seen in Formula 1 since 2006, with the sport opting to use the alternate track layout there this season.
Having reflected on the team’s performance at the weekend, in which Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finished fourth and fifth around Monaco, Wolff hopes the return to a more conventional circuit will provide Mercedes with a better backdrop on which to learn more about the updated W14.
“It’s always a challenge when rain falls midway through a race and the team handled it well in Monaco,” Wolff said.
“We made the right calls and scored some solid points. It is impossible to evaluate our upgrades on a circuit like Monaco, but at least we didn’t have any nasty surprises.
“We now move on to Barcelona. Spain will provide an opportunity for us to establish a new baseline with the W14.
“It is a track that we are familiar with, although the removal of the final chicane will make it a much quicker lap.
“It comprises a wide range of corner types; that provides a good opportunity for us to learn about the new package.
“We don’t expect to see a step change in performance, but we’re hopeful it will provide a more stable platform.”
Hamilton added: “We’ll get the real potential of the car in Barcelona and hopefully we’ll be in a great position for the next one.”