Mercedes technical director James Allison has said that the new sidepod design which features on the W09 will be worth around a quarter of a second of improvement.
The W09 is the first Mercedes car that Allison has properly overseen from the very start of the development process and has been talking about the differences between it and its predecessor – the title-winning W08.
“The biggest [change] is down here in the sidepod,” Allison said. “We’ve done an awful lot of work down there to try to make that car really, really slender.
“If you compare it to this  car, you can just see the difference. You can see that the bodywork bulges out around about where the engine and exhaust pack is.
“On the new car this is a much, much more slender thing. It doesn’t look like much of a difference but actually when you add it all up it is something like 0.25 seconds just there.
“It doesn’t look like much of a difference but it was actually a huge amount of work. A lot of hair got lost in that project, but the end result is something that is pretty to look at but also much more importantly is an awful lot quicker.”
Allison also said that the W09 would wipe the floor with the 2017 car if the two were to race against each other.
“Across the entire car, across every part of its surface, we’ve made it new. We’ve found different ways of doing it,” he added.
“We have found improved way of getting downforce and performance into the car. Each one of them is small in isolation but they add up in their totality to something that is enormous.
“Last year’s car was the quickest one out there. It won more races than any other and it was of course the championship winner.
“But last year’s car would be utterly hopeless, it would be blown away by this one because of all that work by all those people over an entire year making modifications at every level.
“All of them are small but all of them are accumulating to a huge end result and a car that is just much, much faster.”