Mercedes track director of engineering operations Andrew Shovlin says his team sees ‘encouraging signs’ in the new improvements they have prepared for the next few races, starting with the Miami street race scheduled for next weekend.
The current design champions, who have won the title in the last eight years, have had the toughest season since 2011 with the uncompetitive F1 W13 having major bouncing problems that prevent them from getting the most out of aerodynamic performance.
The problems in the last race in Imola were even bigger than usual because Mercedes struggled to warm up the tires in cold conditions, especially for one fast lap in qualifying, but the team believes the car has potential if they manage to master bouncing.
Mercedes has been working for more than two months on jumping solutions, which are more pronounced on their car than on others, and to alleviate the problem, engineers have to raise the car’s distance from the ground, which takes too much downforce at lower speeds and increases center of gravity.
“Realistically, I think it’s something we’re going to approach in steps, not that we’re suddenly going to have a moment where the whole thing is going to disappear,” Shovlin said.
“But we see encouraging signs. We hope to bring some parts for the car soon, maybe already in Miami, which will hopefully bring progress on this issue. ”
“A lot of people suffer from this problem and we know that raising a car is a way to alleviate symptoms. A lot of work is being done in Brackley to understand this phenomenon, to control it and get it out of the car. ”
Shovlin also commented on the problems they had with adjusting the front wing on Russell’s car in Imola when switching from rain tires to dry tires, which is usually accompanied by adding aerodynamic pressure to the front axle by increasing the inclination of the upper front wing element.
“When we make changes while entering the pits we use an electronic gun that has a pre-programmed speed that it has to make because the stops in the pits have become so fast that you can no longer make manual changes when the mechanic counts the revs,” Shovlin said.