Mercedes expects the Spanish GP to be a ‘stern test’ for the W15

Mercedes expect this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix to provide a stern test to confirm the recent progress they have made with their car

A poor start to the 2024 season was overturned in Canada as Mercedes are the most competitive team in dry conditions, and the day before, George Russell took pole position and finished on the podium in the race.

Mercedes insisted going into Montreal that they were back on track, and a new front wing appeared in Monaco to fix the W15’s earlier balance problems.

But Mercedes technical director James Allison is cautious about assessing Mercedes’ breakthroughs until those upgrades are evaluated on a more conventional track.

Allison believes Barcelona, ​​which has a diverse range of cornering speeds, will prove a vital barometer in determining whether Mercedes is now a regular at the top of the grid.

Asked about the car’s range being extended since the W15 developments were added, Allison said: “We’ve extended it significantly.”

“There’s more we still have to do, and we’ll know for sure when we go to the next track, which is Barcelona, ​​because there’s really a very significant range of cornering conditions.”

“There is also a much hotter track, so it will be quite a tough test for the car,” he indicated.

Allison also noted that it will be crucial for drivers to get the tires in the correct working space.

“Drivers have a very difficult job on the exit lap,” he explains.

“We mustn’t heat the tires to more than 70 degrees in the garages, but the tires themselves must be hotter than that in order to get the best out of them in the circuit.”

“They have to do the exit qualifying lap before their flying lap, so they get the front tires and the rear tires in their frame, while respecting the minimum times that the race director has imposed on them as a matter of course, and not blocking the cars behind, and it’s very, very difficult in the lap put the tires in the right place.”

“It doesn’t take much to have a degree here, a cold here or there, to just drive them away.”

“And then they take the first turns. If the car is not as well prepared as it could be, then the tires will simply slide on the surface.”

“It’s going to overheat on the surface because of that, and you’re going to lose a little bit of grip, and then it’s going to run away from you.”

“Not much, but look at the front end of the grids. Lewis was just a blink of an eye slower than George and George was on pole and Lewis was seventh.”

“They are picky in that it is very difficult to get the absolute best out of them, and the differences between you and your competitors are small.

“You are punished very severely for very, very small transgressions,” added the Mercedes technical director.