Grand Prix d’Espagne – Mercedes et son concept aéro : Le pas en avant ou le grand retour en arrière

For Mercedes, it’s now or never. Overwhelmed by its performance since the start of the season, the world champion team will finally really know where it is technically. The Spanish Grand Prix, contested this weekend on the circuit where part of the pre-season tests were carried out, should allow him to compare his radical single-seater concept, with potential considered gigantic… but still untapped.

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If George Russell – most often – and Lewis Hamilton – sometimes – have survived the first five rounds of the season and allowed Mercedes to settle in third place in the “Constructors” championship, the Silver Arrows n were able to compete with Ferrari and Red Bull on a regular basis. “At the moment it’s a little dulladmitted Toto Wolff, boss of the team. We’re third, kind of in no man’s land“.

Mercedes convinced of having potential

Until now, and since the beginning of the hybrid era (2014), the German firm was rather accustomed to dominating the rest of the pack, often outrageously. To take the turn of the change in technical regulations, his eminences grises took a daring gamble by designing a car with non-existent pontoons… or almost. The solution contrasts radically with the concepts adopted by Ferrari and Red Bull. But it has still not borne fruit.

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However, the team remains convinced of having found the magic formula. “It is clear that there is potential in the car and that it is fast, assured Wolff after the Grand Prix of Miami. But we just don’t understand how to unlock that potential. There is simply no correlation between what we see on our screens and the feelings of the pilots, and that makes things even more difficult.”

In the wind tunnel and on the simulator, the W13 would be much more efficient than in reality, so much so that Mercedes imagines itself capable of finding the top of the time sheet once the equation has been solved. Problem, it has an unknown: porpoising. The phenomenon, which generally affects all teams to different degrees, is extremely marked on the Silver Arrows. Ferrari managed to apprehend him. Red Bull pretty much got rid of it.

Toto Wolff gave “the benefit of the doubt”

The world champion team is still looking for the solution. “It is important to differentiate between two things: on the one hand the normal program of improvements and on the other the resolution of the problems that we are having with the bounces and other things that compromise performancepointed out Mike Elliott, technical director of the Silver Arrows, on the channel Youtube from the stable. […] To try to understand the rebound we collected a lot of data and as always the engineers are studying this data to better understand.”

“Between Ferrari and Red Bull, it’s going to be the development war this weekend in Barcelona”

In Barcelona, ​​the engineers should have all the cards in hand. During pre-season testing in February, Mercedes had its drivers run with a more classic concept. Friday’s tests will allow him to obtain a more precise comparison. And to make a decision that could be just as radical as its concept. So far, Wolff and his board have made the choice to let “The benefit of the doubt“to its engineers in Brackley, capital for the conquests of the “drivers” and constructors’ titles gleaned since 2014.

But if this last test is not conclusive, Mercedes will ask the right question: “We look in the mirrorobserved Toto Wolff. And we will say to ourselves: ‘Were we wrong or not?‘”.

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