Mercedes F1 will bring its final aerodynamic evolution of the season to Austin. The team hopes to gain in downforce, but also in weight, in order to have a better balance on the W13 during the United States Grand Prix, and for the last races of the season. Andrew Shovlin, the team’s director of engineering, details these new features.
« This is our final stage of aero development and it will hopefully give us a bit more performance, but importantly with each stage we are learning more and more and that learning we can carry over to the race. ‘next year » Shovlin said.
« That’s part of the problem. Also, we’ve taken some weight off some components, which should get the car closer to the weight limit. It’s very difficult for us to predict where we’re going. In Singapore, Lewis was awfully close to pole position. »
« But at Suzuka both cars had a big backlog. Now our race pace has been quite good so if we can make progress we can hope to fight with the Ferraris and the Red Bulls. »
« Qualifying for us is really hard to predict at the moment. But as I said, a lot of it is about learning and we will definitely give our best in the last four races. »
« It’s about learning » above all
Shovlin hopes the Austin bumps won’t be present, so he can better understand the behavior of the W13. He reveals that the difficulty is to succeed in understanding the evolutions, even if the track is not in ideal conditions.
« They’ve done a bit of resurfacing, so hopefully the issues with the bumps are a bit less. But what’s really difficult this year is really knowing where you’re going to be on a circuit before you go. been there. »
« A lot of it is about learning, but we’re not going to make predictions about our performance. We have to ride on Friday, see what kind of problems we have, and see if we can solve them with the settings. «
The W14 should have less drag and more downforce
In Japan, the team opted for rain settings, even if it meant displaying a colossal speed deficit during the qualifying session which was contested in the dry. Shovlin thinks this decision has complicated the race, and recognizes that the W14 will have to allow more downforce, without the need to resort to extreme adjustments.
« Part of the reason for this decision was that the simulations were giving us our best lap times in the race conditions where we were going to have high degradation in the dry. »
« But we had also seen the rain coming down on Sunday, and we thought that in a wet race that might be an advantage. Now, as it happened, the DRS was never activated, which means that the overtaking was very, very difficult. »
“Maybe the right decision would have been to go for lower downforce, but fundamentally one of the things we need to improve on the car for next year is to make the car have more downforce. downforce with lower drag levels. We will be able to reduce downforce and still be competitive in the corners. »