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Mercedes playing catch-up with F1 Miami floor upgrade

Mercedes says its new Formula 1 floor for the Miami Grand Prix is an effort to catch up on aero development ahead of further car changes.

Mercedes W15 technical detail

Photo by: Filip Cleeren

The Brackley team has struggled for consistency with its often ill-handling W15, finding it hard to produce a car that works across all corner types and speeds, with its limitations seemingly shifting from circuit to circuit.

Further updates to make the car more benign to handle for Lewis Hamilton and George Russell are still in the works, but it has fast-tracked a new floor that was originally meant for Imola to add aerodynamic load to the car.

"This is mainly just general development," said Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin.

"We'd originally planned to bring this to Imola, which also has some revisions around the rear wing and beam wing area.

"But we've done a good job to pull it forward and managed to get two here. We've got one on each car, which is a reasonable step.

"We've had the same car since the start of the season more or less, so it's good that we can start to bring some more performance.

"Over the next four or five races, there are other developments that we're looking at to try and get the car handling a bit more consistently, and a bit less tricky to work with. But that's all coming in the next few [races]."

Mercedes F1 W15 front wing detail

Mercedes F1 W15 front wing detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

He added: "We are just behind on development, which is one of the areas we need to improve. But also just getting the car to be a bit more versatile across a range of tracks will be a very important focus for us."

Mercedes' upgrades, which also include a new front wing spec to provide more car balance options, a revised front track rod as well as Miami-specific cooling slots, are rolled out across F1 2024's second sprint weekend.

While the lack of practice and the extra competitive sessions carry more risk, Shovlin said the changes to the format that allow teams to work on the cars after Saturday morning's sprint are making them less reluctant to bring upgrades to this type of weekend.

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"If we lose one [floor], then we're rolling back. But the regulations in the sprint make it easier to deal with a shortage of parts," Shovlin explained.

"You've got the break in parc ferme, which is helpful, but also you can list parts that you may roll back to, which was a relic of the original sprint race regulations. I think that's why increasingly people actually target the sprints for updates.

"It's not so good for learning, so if you have a problem with it, you're kind of locked in. But certainly from a parts point of view, you can make do with fewer."

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