Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Mercedes battling “fundamental” issue with new W15 F1 design

Mercedes is facing a “fundamental” issue with its new W15 Formula 1 car in high-speed corners that is hampering its performance.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W15

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

The German manufacturer had come into this year hoping that a design revamp would help it close the gap on pacesetter Red Bull.

However, drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton have endured a challenging first two races to the campaign with a clear weakness to the car now exposed.

Team principal Toto Wolff says Mercedes does not fully comprehend what is going wrong in high-speed corners, as its real-world performance is not matching what its data suggests.

“There is something which we don't understand,” he said. “We are quick everywhere else pretty much.

 “We know that we have a smaller rear wing, we're compensating what we're losing through the corners. But it's just at high-speed where we're losing all the lap time.”

Wolff explained that the issue goes far beyond just being a set-up problem, as he thinks there is something intrinsic in its car design that is not working.

“I think that's a biggie,” he said. “There's only so much you can tune here.

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

“Our simulations point us in a direction and this is the kind of set-up range that we then choose, where you put the right rear wing on.

“I think you'll gain a few tenths or not if you get the set-up right or wrong, but there's not a massive corridor of performance. It's more a fundamental thing, that we believe that the speed should be there. We measure the downforce but we don't find it in lap time.”

The difficulties with the W15 have opened up the prospect of Mercedes facing a third consecutive year of chasing problems, after its woes with the new-ground effect cars over the past two seasons.

But Wolff is sure the squad is in a different spot right now, and he has no doubts it will quickly get to the bottom of what has gone wrong.

“It's been two years that there is something we need to spot, and that's the thing to unlock,” he said. “We have just got to work.

Read Also:

“It's not through lack of trying. We’ve pushed so hard and we're going to give it a massive, massive go now in the next week, with more data to understand.

“We are going to come back to Melbourne strong. We are on a mission on this one. And I am 100% sure that we are going to unlock that performance gap.”

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Video: The Red Bull machine powers on at the F1 Saudi Arabian GP
Next article Vasseur: Bearman's mistake-free F1 Saudi Arabian GP so good it's "unrealistic"

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe