Mercedes explains approach to changing F1 car concept

After the Bahrain Grand Prix, team boss Toto Wolff made it clear that it was time to look at a change of direction, and that there would be “no holy cows” in terms of sticking to established ideas.

The definition of exactly what the concept of an F1 car entails has been a talking point in recent weeks, with Wolff making it clear that it extends beyond the trademark ‘size zero’ sidepods that the team transferred from last year’s W13 to its current car.

Speaking in a Mercedes Q&A video, Elliott acknowledged that the definition of concept is a loose one.

“The simple answer is it means different things to different people,” he said. “I think after Bahrain we had to accept we weren’t where we wanted to be, that we had to look at all the things that make up our car and work out what could we be doing differently, how could we get more performance, because there is a significant gap for us to catch up to the front.

“So the engineers are busy looking at aerodynamics, they are looking at the shape of the car, things like the sidepod geometry, the floor geometry, have we missed a trick?

“But we are also looking in the simulation world of are we targeting the right things, are we pushing the aerodynamics in the right direction?

“We’re looking at the mechanical set-up of the car, are there things there that we are missing? What else can we bring to the car that is going to add performance? And we’re trying to do that as fast as we possibly can, because we want to get back to the front.

“We want to be competing at the front, and the only way we are going to do that is by accepting we are not in the position we want to be, and fighting and working really hard to get back there.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Elliott stressed that the W14’s poor performance in Bahrain was a “reality check” for the Brackley-based squad, but he did point out it has energised the team into looking for solutions.

“Obviously, Bahrain was a real reality check and to find ourselves in the position we find ourselves in, not being competitive, was a real disappointment,” he said. “A disappointment for the whole team.

“But you have to get yourself through that, and you have to turn that into what we are going to do about it? How are we going to bring the sort of the energy and what we are capable of doing?

“How are we going to move ourselves forward? How are we going to get ourselves back in the fight?

“And actually, walking around the factory there is huge amount of energy, there is a huge amount of work going on, we are starting to see some of the development come through already that is going to get us back into this championship fight.

“All we can do is just keep pushing. I’ve been really pleased to see the attitude in the team.”

Asked about potential form in the Australian GP, he said: “Firstly, our main aim at the moment is to continue learning. We’ve only had two races so far. It’s really difficult to build trends from that.

“In terms of the actual characteristics of the circuit, Australia is probably front-limited and probably more like Jeddah than like Bahrain. So, let’s hope that we can find another small step forward, get a bit more competitive, find the learning that is going to help us move forward in the long term.”

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